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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Visual Depictions of Antisemitism in the Czech Lands after World War II

Blanka Soukupová


The text analyses the visualisation of antisemitism in Czechoslovakia from 1945 to 1989. If we understand post-war antisemitism as the revival of a phenomenon which in itself unites leitmotifs from antiquity up to the Protectorate, it is one that works with theories of conspiracies, with a stereotyped vision of the world, with populism. Whereas after the war, the predominant stereotype of the Jew was as a German and an asocial Germaniser, after the February coup the main stereotype of the Jew was as a bourgeois nationalist, capitalist, cosmopolitan or, in synonymous designation, a representative of Zionism. The antisemitic blade was directed primarily at the State of Israel as a vassal of the USA. The figure of Israel as a collective Jew then returned during what was called ‘normalisation’. These propagandist ideas of the Jew found their reflection in the political caricature of the time. The Jew, and therefore the State of Israel, was depicted with the help of antisemitic ideas about Jewish physiognomy and character - a longing for world dominance and property, asocialism, parasitism. The aim of the pictures of the Jew was to distract attention from current social problems and to support a Czechoslovak foreign policy determined by the power-political interests of the Soviet Union. This trend did not vanish even in the ‘golden sixties’, although at this time a gulf opened between civil society and the political representation.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston