11 January 2018

New article on how comic strips were deployed in the Nazi propaganda machine.

Detail “Rare, maar ware commentaren”, Peter Beekman, Volk en Vaderland,1942

In 1942, the Dutch weekly magazine Volk en Vaderland, which propagated the political opinions of the Dutch National Socialists in Nazi-occupied the Netherlands, published the comic strip “Rare, maar ware commentaren” (Odd, but true comments).

In it, illustrator Peter Beekman (1911–1959) depicted current events and the various perceived enemies of National Socialist society. He focused on Jews in particular, providing insight into how the comic genre was deployed in the Nazi propaganda machine.

NIOD researcher Kees Ribbens recently published an article on anti-Jewish stereotyping in a special issue on graphic novels and the Holocaust by the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.

The article analyses the use of six dominant anti-Semitic themes, which were part of a wider anti-Jewish stereotyping, present throughout Europe at the time. Think of clichés such as ‘otherness’, greediness and Judeo-Communism.

Ribbens places the discussion on anti-Jewish stereotyping in the broader context of both the Dutch political culture and the Volk en Vaderland editorial policy. He also focuses on the illustrator Beekman himself, who was an intriguing figure. Beekman joined the NSB, the country’s National Socialist party, in 1940. After the Second World War he continued to work as an illustrator.

The article further discusses the intricacies of anti-Jewish discourse, its hidden mechanisms, and the individuals and institutions that molded it.

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