Teachers get a lesson in propaganda

Propaganda can come in many forms — even board games.
December 9, 2015

Propaganda can come in many forms — even board games.

When local educators gathered Dec. 5 for a teaching workshop presented by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, they were exposed to World War II-era posters, films, photographs and a disturbing board game from the 1930s called “Jews Out!”

The game had eerie resemblances to classics such as Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land, mixed with unflattering cartoons of Jews. The goal of the game was to drive Jews out of Germany, and different spaces on the board showed images of Jewish businesses that needed to be eliminated.

Israel Bautista, who teaches at El Sereno Middle School, found the materials and discussion styles expanded his paradigm on how propaganda should be taught to younger students.

“It is a good critical analysis tool, because in today’s day and age, with teens being bombarded with images on social media and traditional media, everything is coming at them so quickly that kids need to critically look at those images rather than just be easily influenced,” he said. “It is important for them to put serious thought into what goes into the messages they are told on a daily basis.”

National Recording Service Adolf Hitler – Our Leader!” from the museum’s propaganda exhibition

The free event at the Los Angeles Central Library, “Connecting the Past and Present: A New Framework for Teaching Propaganda,” enabled about 50 attendees to explore content and themes from the museum’s traveling exhibition, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” It is scheduled to run from March 10 to May 8 at the library and illustrates the Nazis’ use of the latest technologies and techniques to disseminate propaganda, among other things.

“State of Deception” is well-traveled, having been staged in Chicago; Phoenix; Cleveland; St. Louis; Kansas City, Mo.; and Tulsa, Okla. After leaving L.A., it will move on to Austin, Texas; and New Orleans. 

“State of Deception” teacher workshop.

Classroom-ready teaching resources, previewed by those educators in attendance, will be made available to any teacher interested in integrating the innovative materials and teaching methods into their curriculum. Materials can be accessed and downloaded at

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