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Tornister used by a student in Nazi Germany

Object | Accession Number: 1990.45.1

Leather tornister schoolbag used by a student in Germany during and before the Holocaust. Tornister bags originated in the German military during the 17th century, and were traditionally made out of leather or canvas stretched over a wooden frame. Later, German schoolchildren began using the bags to carry their books and school materials. 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 restricting the number of Jewish students who could attend public schools were established. Under the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service Act, Jewish teachers or ones considered “politically unreliable” were purged from schools, and Nazi Party membership was 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 Germans who would be willing to die for the Führer and Fatherland. Nordic and other “Aryan” races were glorified, while Jews and other peoples were deemed inferior.

creation:  approximately 1930
use: Germany
Object Type
Schoolbags (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Schulmuseum Berlin.
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 22:05:38
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