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Body of Source Material and Basis of Research - The Langerman Collection

As a result of a cooperation agreement made in 2017 with the collector Arthur Langerman, the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism has been granted exclusive access to a unique collection of anti-Semitic drawings and visual propaganda materials. The Langerman Collection serves as a source body and basis of the research of the Research Group “Hate Pictures” and will provide subject matter for future dissertations, research projects, lectures and seminars. In addition, the collection will be made accessible to our students, international researchers and pedagogical and educational initiatives on a permanent basis through the creation of a digital archive and access point at the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism.

The Langerman Collection is an illustrated archive of the history of anti-Semitic hatred. Consisting of approximately 8.000 pieces, including more than 5.000 post cards, more than 1.000 hand-drawn sketches, several hundreds of posters and a considerable number of further printed works and paintings, it is characterized not only by its sheer range, but also by its historical and regional variety. It includes, among many other pieces:

  • Oil paintings dating from 17th and 18th century Britain, Austria and Germany, depicting scenes of alleged “ritual murder” or “haggling Jews”,
  • printed works illustrating the birth of modern anti-Semitism in Germany,
  • illustrated periodicals, leaflets and posters vilifying Alfred Dreyfus and the Jews of France,
  • thousands of post cards from 19th and early 20th century Western and Eastern Europe, whose motives mock, jeer, insult and abuse Jews, 
  • illustrated leaflets of various völkisch and nationalist groups,
  • children’s books teaching alleged Jewish physical peculiarities and anti-Jewish sentiment,
  • posters, illustrated writings and printed works originating from various Nazi German propaganda campaigns,
  • posters originating from collaborating or sympathizing anti-Semites in Belgium and France, the Netherlands, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Russia, Britain and the USA,
  • anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic posters from Iran and various Arabic states.

These different media depict Jews as destitute peddlers, as Bolshevist agents and plotters, as obese capitalists and manipulators, as lecherous and dehumanized rapists and child molesters, as bloodthirsty monsters, vermin and germs. These motives exemplify patterns of Christian anti-Judaism, of culturally and socially grounded hostility towards Jews, of modern anti-Semitism based on political or biologistic arguments, of racial anti-Semitism, National Socialist redemptive and eliminative anti-Semitism, as well as anti-Semitism invoking anti-Zionist themes. The collection thus displays the whole visual repertoire of anti-Semitism, its contradictions, viciousness and consistency.

Without doubt, the Langerman Collection, whose pieces until now have remained, to some extent, completely unknown, constitutes a source body of unique potential for historical research in general and research on anti-Semitism in particular.

For the Research Group “Hate Pictures” and the associated research projects at the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism, the Langerman Collection offers a basis and starting point for a wide range of approaches. In contrast to other archives and libraries, which hold scattered pieces of illustrated anti-Jewish propaganda as parts of larger and miscellaneous record groups, the Langerman Collection stands out by virtue of its thematic and material consistency, as well as its regional and historical breadth. As a result, it bears the potential to serve as a basis for comparative studies on history, distribution, pervasiveness and circulation of anti-Semitic motives. Moreover, the collection contains a number of larger and comprehensive series attributable to specific cartoonists and propaganda campaigns. These series can enable innovative insights into mechanisms of genesis, production and control of anti-Semitic “hate pictures”.

The Center for Research on Anti-Semitism expresses its sincere gratitude to Mr. Langerman for entrusting us with his unique, invaluable collection and the highly challenging task of its analysis.

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