BERLIN (AP) — Small, but poisonous and often effective: one of Germany’s main history museums is exhibiting racist and anti-Semitic stickers spanning more than a century in a show that comes as the country worries about racism amid the migrant crisis.
The show at the German Historical Museum, tiled “Sticky Messages,” features some 600 stickers and replicas, racist and anti-racist, from 1880 to the present day.
Among the earliest exhibits are a mock train ticket from 1893 offering Jews a trip “to Jerusalem, one way” and a Jewish group’s 1900 sticker proclaiming that “anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools.”
The exhibition includes a wide range of anti-Jewish stickers from before and during the Nazi era, carrying messages such as “Jews out” and “You have bought from Jews! We are watching.” There are also some illegal flyers from the Nazi era, one saying “Down with Hitler.”
The show also features images from Germany’s brief colonial era and moves on to the present with stickers proffering slogans such as “refugees not welcome” and “Bratwurst, not kebab.”
Alongside anti-immigrant, anti-mosque and outright far-right messages, ranging from a crudely made “race mixing is genocide” sticker to slickly produced extremist party material, there are stickers proclaiming a “Nazi-free zone” and that “all people are foreigners, almost everywhere.”
The show considers stickers’ role as “harbingers of violence.”
“It’s about marking territories as being occupied by a particular political culture, it’s about intimidation — when stickers against refugee homes are put up, that is sometimes immediately before attacks on the homes,” curator Isabel Enzenbach said.
A “fantasy of a homogenous Germany” links older anti-Semitic pieces such as the mock train ticket with contemporary racist messages such as fake one-way plane tickets made by a far-right party, she said.
Museum head Alexander Koch said the subject matter is “alarmingly up-to-date,” given current concerns about racism. The stickers are “inglorious signs of the polarization of a society, and inglorious signs of a society that uses anonymity to spread certain ideas,” he said.
The exhibition opens to the public Wednesday, after an opening ceremony Tuesday being attended by the leader of Germany’s main Jewish group, and runs through July 31.
Exhibition site: https://www.dhm.de/en/ausstellungen/sticky-messages.html