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Auction #67 begins on
07 Jun 2018 16:30 GMT

Bauer (Elvira)


Published: Stürmer Verlag, Nurnberg, 1936

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3rd Auflage 41 -50 Tausend. Unpaginated – 43 pages, 21 full page colour plates, pictorial boards with canvas spine and edges, slightly worn at the top and the bottom of the covers, a very good copy.

One of the most virulently anti-Semitic children's books ever published. This is the first of three anti-Semitic children’s books published by Julius Streicher’s Stürmer Publishing House. They are among the nastier productions of the Third Reich. Around 100,000 copies were printed, and the book was used in many schools. The author, Elvira Bauer, was an 18-year-old art student. The title comes from a phrase by Martin Luther, whose anti-Jewish remarks the Nazis were happy to use. Written in Sutterlin the old German script developed in the 16th century.

The English translation of the title reads : Don't trust a fox in a green meadow or the word of a Jew. The full translation of the text into English is provided here.

The Nizkor Project: Propaganda and Children during the Hitler Years by Mary Mills: The image of the Jew as something less than human, unnatural and immoral recurs throughout the Nazi propaganda picture storybooks for young children. Around the age of six, children were given primers, whose content focused upon camp life, marching, martial drums, boys growing up to be soldiers, etc. Even at this young age, it is obvious that as one principal of a German academic high school wrote: "Education in relation to weapons... is no special branch of general education; rather it is, in point of fact, the very core of our entire education." Along with these primers, children were given a supplement entitled Trau keinem Fuchs auf grüner Heid und keinem Jud bei seinem Eid (Don't Trust A Fox in A Green Meadow Or the Word of A Jew).

This supplement was written by an eighteen-year-old art student, Elvira Bauer, and was a basic educational tool that was typical of the material provided for young children. It was published in 1935/36 by Der Stürmer and went through seven editions. A hundred thousand copies of this picture book were in circulation. This storybook does not have a story in the traditional sense because it lacks an active plot. Its anti-semitic theme, conveyed through primitive rimes and lurid illustrations, focuses upon a pre-conceived contrast between the German and the Jew, their history of animosity, and the establishment of a justification for the German war against the Jews. According to Nazi ideology, this war was being fought to save the Aryan world from the Jewish alien invaders within its midst.

Upon casual examination of the book, one's attention is immediately drawn to the bright red cover and the malicious expressions of the two images accompanying the title.The one is a fox eager to trap his prey; the other is a Jew eager to swear a false oath under the star of David. Bauer effectively uses the image of the clever and deceptive fox, a figure that is based in antiquity and commonplace in European folklore. Greek legend considered the fox to be a creature of the Devil or even the Devil, himself. While linking the Jew to this universal image of deceit, Bauer simultaneously draws upon another universal theme, loyalty to one's oath as it appears in the German fairy tale Eid aufs Eisen. Eid aufs Eisen might be translated as "absolute truth." Eid means "oath" and aufs Eisen literally means "on iron."

Figuratively, this is the strongest oath possible and refers to the practice of trial by combat customary during the Middle Ages. In the German fairy tale, the fox outsmarts another animal by swearing a false oath. An oath sworn by a Jew is identified with deceit. In the title and its accompanying illustration, Bauer references an old prejudice against Jews. During the Middle Ages, Jews were required to swear an oath using a special ceremony during a court proceeding. It was not until the nineteenth century with the emancipation of Jews that such rituals, which marked the Jewish oath as something mysterious and uncanny, vanished. Bauer drums the identification of the Jew with the evil traits of the fox into the minds of her young readers by frequent warnings such as: "Like a fox, he slips about / So you must look out!"

Bauer goes beyond the usual catalogue of "typical" Jewish characteristics by seeking to provide the stereotypes with a mythological-racial context. According to anti-semitic folklore, the Devil is the creator of the Jewish people. In an attempt to equal God's creation of humans, the Devil succeeds only in producing unfortunate creatures, among them, the monkey and the Jew. As children of the Devil, therefore, Jews deserve to be ostracized and treated poorly. Their perceived physical and moral defects are regarded as racial characteristics. The positive self-image of the German also has its basis in racial ideology. Germans are, according to Nazi racial ideology, a pure race, and, in contrast to the Jews, a healthy race. Bauer alludes several times to what must be done to keep Germany a wholesome country and thanks the notorious antisemite, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Stürmer, an anti-semitic publisher, for his efforts to keep Germany healthy and free from Jews. Finally, she reduces the Jewish presence in Germany to a plague that must be exterminated. The association between Jews and a fatal disease as well as the justification for the destruction of Jews was being indoctrinated into young children via colorful picture books in 1936 six years before the Wannsee Conference.

Drawing on several centuries of anti-semitism, Bauer intensifies her anti-semitic assault by making the virtuous German the object of the Jewish hate. The German is portrayed as hard-working, honest, handsome and courageous. In his character and physical appearance, the Jew is depicted as the antithesis of these qualities.

  • Overall Condition: A Very Good Copy
  • Size: Oblong 4to (200 x250mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
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  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
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  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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