March 18, 2020
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Movie starts at 6:15pm
San Rafael’s Museum of International Propaganda (MIP) opened a unique exhibition on October 23, 2019, Der Stűrmer and the Propaganda Cartoons of the Third Reich. The exhibition was made possible through a generous gift of Lt. Robert Leon Bru’s priceless World War II political cartoon collection.
Lt. Robert Bru hand-collected these historical artifacts while a prisoner of war in a German Stalag prison camp. This Friday, February 28, Lt. Bru would have turned 100! He passed away on Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the age of 99, 6 days before we opened the exhibition.
We will celebrate and honor Lt. Bru’s memory this Saturday, February 29, and invite all of you to visit the Museum to see Lt. Bru’s exhibit. His family will also be there around 11 am.
Following World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany, most of the fascist anti-Semitic, anti-American and other National Socialist propaganda was destroyed by the Allies and by the dispirited German citizens. What remained was put in the Museums and in the underground archives – or locked away in vaults for good. The few private collections are mostly in the hands of the former Allied soldiers. These historical articles are disappearing fast, and often in trash, following the passing of their owners.
MIP has been extremely lucky to receive one such collection from a 99-year old American flyer, Robert Bru, who was shot down over Denmark. While in the German war prison, Mr. Bru started collecting propaganda cartoons from a German tabloid, Der Stűrmer (The Fighter), provided to the captured airmen by the Stalag prison administration. After he was liberated, he took the cartoons home to the East Bay and pasted them in a scrap book. In March 2019, after reading about the Museum of International Propaganda in the SF Chronicle, Mr. Bru donated his Nazi cartoons to the Museum for safekeeping. The collection was so fascinating that we decided to share them with the public in an exhibition.
The Nuremberg tabloid, Der Stűrmer (The Fighter), was the Third Reich’s premier mass appeal purveyor of a low-brow, cut-to-the-bone, “Jews Are Our Misery” message throughout Germany. Targeting the lowest disaffected classes, its propaganda power was enormous. Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels liked the paper and supported it until the end. The crass political cartoons presented in the exhibition were Der Stűrmer’s chief draw. They were cunningly crafted by the propagandists to excuse and justify Nazis’ pathological hatred of the Jews and, later, the Allies. Once vilified and dehumanized, the “Untermenschen” (subhumans) could be imprisoned, beaten or slaughtered, without any pangs of national or personal guilt.
The Museum of International Propaganda’s Exhibition hopes to make the viewers think about the effects of propaganda on society at large, and the vital role the propagandists play to support various governments’ political objectives.