Background: This story comes from Der Giftpilz, an anti-Semitic children’s book published by Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer. He was executed as a war criminal in 1946.
Things are lively in Mr. Birkmann’s 7th grade boys’ class today. The teacher is talking about the Jews. Mr. Birkmann has drawn pictures of Jews on the blackboard. The boys are fascinated. Even the laziest of them, “Emil the Snorer,” is paying attention, not sleeping, as he so often does during other subjects. Mr. Birkmann is a good teacher. All the children like him. They are happiest when he talks about the Jews. Mr. Birkmann can do that well. He learned about the Jews from life. He knows how to put it in gripping terms such that the favorite hour of the day is the “Jewish hour.” Mr. Birkmann looks at the clock.
“It is noon,” he says. “We should summarize what we have learned in the past hour. What have we talked about?”
All the children raise their hands. The teacher calls on Karl Scholz, a small lad in the front row. “We have talked about how to recognize the Jews.”
“Good. Say more!”
Little Karl reaches for the pointer, steps up to the board and points at the drawings.
“One can most easily tell a Jew by his nose. The Jewish nose is bent at its point. It looks like the number six. We call it the 'Jewish six.' Many Gentiles also have bent noses. But their noses bend upwards, not downwards. Such a nose is a hook nose or an eagle nose. It is not at all like a Jewish nose.”
“Right!” says the teacher. “But the nose is not the only way to recognize a Jew...”
The boy goes on. “One can also recognize a Jew by his lips. His lips are usually puffy. The lower lip often protrudes. The eyes are different too. The eyelids are mostly thicker and more fleshy than ours. The Jewish look is wary and piercing. One can tell from his eyes that he is a deceitful person.”
The teacher calls on another lad. He is Fritz Müller, and is the best in the class. He goes to the board and says:
“Jews are usually small to mid-sized. They have short legs. Their arms are often very short too. Many Jews are bow-legged and flat-footed. They often have a low, slanting forehead, a receding forehead. Many criminals have such a receding forehead. The Jews are criminals too. Their hair is usually dark and often curly like a Negro’s. Their ears are very large, and they look like the handles of a coffee cup.”
The teacher turns to the students.
“Pay attention, children. Why does Fritz always say ‘many Jews have bow legs’, or ‘they often have receding foreheads,’ or ‘their hair is usually dark’?”
Heinrich Schmidt, a large, strong boy in the last row speaks.
“Every Jew does not have these characteristics. Some do not have a proper Jewish nose, but real Jewish ears. Some do not have flat feet, but real Jewish eyes. Some Jews cannot be recognized at first glance. There are even some Jews with blond hair. If we want to be sure to recognize Jews, we must look carefully. But when one looks carefully, one can always tell it is a Jew.”
“Very good,” the teacher says. “And now tell me about other ways to tell Jews from Gentiles. Richard, come up here!”
Richard Krause, a smiling blond lad, goes to the board. He says: “One can recognize a Jew from his movements and behavior. The Jew moves his head back and forth. His gait is shuffling and unsteady. The Jew moves his hands when he talks. He “jabbers.” His voice is often odd. He talks through his nose. Jews often have an unpleasant sweetish odor. If you have a good nose, you can smell the Jews.”
The teacher is satisfied.
“That how it is, kids. You have paid attention! If you pay attention outside school and keep your eyes open, you won’t be fooled by the Jews.”
The teacher goes to the lectern and turns the board. On the other side a poem is written. The children read it out loud:
“From a Jew’s face
The wicked Devil speaks to us,
The Devil who, in every country,
Is known as an evil plague.
Would we from the Jew be free,
Again be cheeful and happy,
Then must youth fight with us
To get rid of the Jewish devil.”
[Translation copyright © 1999 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]
Go to the Giftpilz Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.