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Black leather covered fiberboard knapsack used by a student in Nazi Germany

Object | Accession Number: 1990.44.1

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    Black leather covered fiberboard knapsack used by a student in Nazi Germany


    Brief Narrative
    Black leather covered backpack with leather straps used by a student in Dresden, Germany, during the government of the Third Reich, 1933-1945. There were two styles of satchels; the ones with the longer flap, such as this example, were more often used by boys. After Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany in 1933, the Nazi authorities passed new laws that dictated who could teach and be educated in the German school system. Quotas were placed that restricted the number of Jewish students who could attend public schools, and under the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service Act, teachers that were Jewish or considered “politically unreliable” were purged from schools. The act also made Nazi Party membership compulsory for all remaining teachers. At the entrance to school, students had to lift their arms and say, “Heil Hitler!” School curriculum was changed to emphasize sports, history, and racial science with the purpose of indoctrinating students with Nazi ideology. Subjects such as religion became less important, and were eventually removed from the curriculum altogether. Any textbooks used to educate students had to be approved by the party. Censors removed books that did not meet these standards from the classroom, and introduced new textbooks that taught students militarism, racism, antisemitism, obedience to state authority, and love for Hitler. Instruction aimed to produce race-conscious, obedient, self-sacrificing Germans who would be willing to die for Führer and Fatherland. Nordic and other “Aryan” races were glorified while labeling Jews and other so-called “inferior” peoples as “parasitic, bastard races” incapable of creating culture or civilization.
    use:  1933-1945
    use: school; Dresden (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Schulmuseum des Rates des Bezirkes Dresden
    interior, on paper remnant, stamped, purple ink : G

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Schoolbags (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Squarish satchel made of black leather covered fiberboard with rounded corners and 2 embossed rectangular outlines near the outer front edges. The front flap closure has a brown leather strap that inserts into a metal buckle with a leather loop sewn to the front. On the reverse are 2 long adjustable leather straps with metal buckles sewn on with a triangular leather patch reinforcements; another reinforcement patch is sewn to the interior. The right strap ends in a metal D ring and inserts into a metal hook on the underside; the left ends in a pointed tip and inserts into a metal buckle and anchor. The interior is lined with green plastic. A white paper label remnant with text and numbers is adhered to the interior.
    overall: Height: 10.000 inches (25.4 cm) | Width: 13.125 inches (33.338 cm) | Depth: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm)
    overall : leather, fiberboard, plastic, metal, thread, paper, adhesive, ink
    interior, on paper remnant, handwritten, blue ink : 7 7 (European style, upside down)

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The knapsack was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990 by the Schulmuseum des Rates des Bezirkes Dresden.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:21:31
    This page:

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