When Arthur Langerman was two, his parents were sent to Auschwitz. As his collection of antisemitic works opens in Normandy, he explains his obsession.
The drawing is detailed, dramatic and disgusting. Called The Jew, Universal Enemy, it shows Christ on the cross and churches in flames, overseen by a sinister, red-lipped, voracious face. Philipp Rupprecht, better known as Fips, composed this caricature for the notorious Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer in 1937. He also illustrated a 1938 children’s book Der Giftpilz (The Poisonous Mushroom), intended to educate young Germans about the Jewish menace.
Rupprecht was sentenced to 10 years hard labour after the war. His work is among 150 pieces of antisemitic propaganda – posters, drawings and objects – on show at the Caen-Normandy Memorial Museum, in an exhibition called Heinous Cartoons 1886-1945: The Antisemitic Corrosion in Europe. They depict sinister, red-faced, obese capitalists smoking cigars on the backs of oppressed workers. They show grotesque communists clamping chains on a suffering Aryan. They portray Jews as rats and vermin. As the dates in the title suggest, the exhibition chronicles how anti-semitism grew at the end of the 19th century and reached a horrible culmination in the Holocaust.