The Wiener Library in London has on display a macabre board game intended to be a bit of fun for your average family living in 1930s Nazi Germany. It is called Juden Raus! ‘Jews Out!’ – with an exclamation mark.
The game comes with a dice, a 50×60 cm board and a number of figurines. The board has thirteen circles representing various Jewish-owned shops and businesses. Each player adopts one of six red figurines with a pointy hat and a belt around its waist, representing the German police force, and the idea is to land on the Jewish business and eject the Jew. The Jew is represented on 32 hat-shaped counters, the same shape as the hats Jews were compelled to wear during the Middle Ages. Each Jew is depicted with a vile, contorted face.
The rules explain that the Jews Out board game is an ‘extraordinarily amusing and up-to-date family game’. On the board are written three bits of text: Display skill in the dice game, so that you collect many Jews! / When you succeed in driving out 6 Jews, you will be winner beyond all question! And at the bottom right, a ‘typical’ Jewish family on the move accompanied by the text, Off to Palestine!
This vile little game was produced by a Dresden-based company called Günther & Co. in 1936 and was not sanctioned by the Nazi party, it was purely a commercial venture, hoping to capitalize on the anti-Semitic hysteria sweeping through Germany at the time. The game never received official Nazi approval. Indeed, Heinrich Himmler’s SS thoroughly disapproved of the game, criticizing it for trivializing their work: ‘We do not slave ourselves away with the solution of the Jewish question, to relieve able manufacturers of toys of their worries about a great big seller or to help children with an amusing little game.’
The Wiener Library
Named after its founder, Alfred Wiener, the Wiener Library is, to use their words, “one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. Formed in 1933, the Library’s unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.”