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Sliding lid pencil box with a painted scene used by a student in Nazi Germany

Object | Accession Number: 1990.45.3 a-b

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    Brief Narrative
    Wooden pencil holder used by a student in Germany during the Holocaust. 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.
    use:  before 1945
    creation:  1934-1935
    use: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Schulmuseum Berlin.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    a: Rectangular, lacquered, wooden pencil box base with a detachable, sliding lid (b). The exterior sides are smooth, and the bottom is not lacquered. The solid interior has three, rectangular compartments with rounded ends cut into it. The top one is the length of the box with the two shorter ones below. The interior is slightly recessed so that when the lid is in place it is flush with the sides. The inset also creates an easy surface to slide the lid along in order to remove it. There are long scratches and ink stains throughout, and the top compartment has blue ink stains.

    b: Flat, rectangular, wooden box lid with a painted scene for a compartmentalized base (b). The top of the lid has a lacquer coating and features an image of three children fishing on a dock. Standing on the right side of the dock is a boy in a red vest and shorts with a white, long-sleeved undershirt. In his hand is a leash which is secured around the neck of a small dog, sitting on the dock. To the left is another boy in a long-sleeved blue shirt and brown shorts, holding a fishing pole and sitting with his legs hanging off the dock. On the left is a girl in a red dress holding a small doll. The dock is surrounded by blue water, and there is a windmill and a small house in the background. The top and bottom edges of the lid are lined with small, square-shaped holes. Along the short, right edge of the lid is a circular indentation. The edges taper out slightly and are stained black. There are small blue ink stains along the bottom of the underside. The left and right edges are missing small chips.
    a: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 9.125 inches (23.178 cm) | Depth: 2.625 inches (6.668 cm)
    b: Height: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm) | Width: 8.625 inches (21.908 cm) | Depth: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm)
    a : wood, lacquer, ink
    b : wood, lacquer, ink, paint
    back, center, handwritten, black ink : New

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

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    Administrative Notes

    The pencil box was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990 by the Schulmuseum Berlin.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 22:05:38
    This page:

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