28 Apr

The Nazi Board Games of World War II

These relics of wartime propaganda and anti-Semitism were designed for playtime.

From the article on Atlas Obscura

At the International Museum of World War II in Natick, Massachusetts, swastikas line the path to the central victory zone on a swastika-shaped pachisi-style board made in wartime Germany. On another propaganda game in the collection, children could play at encircling the British coastline with tiny U-boats.

Kenneth Rendell, the museum’s founder, says that Nazi power derived partly from such shrewd product design. Manufacturers applied symbols of anti-Semitism and death to toys, along with all manner of other household furnishings, from Christmas ornaments to lightbulb filaments. The racist objects, even if they never directly incited heinous acts, would have inured the owners to the prospect of violence all around them.

“The real power of evil,” Rendell says, “is to make it normal.”