Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow

"Racial segregation reminded me a lot of Nazi Germany, except that I wasn't a victim, the black population was."
- Professor Georg G. Iggers


Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow was developed and produced by the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher of Pacific Street Films first brought the subject of this exhibition to the attention of the general public with the documentary film From Swastika to Jim Crow. The film was based on pioneering research by Gabrielle Edgcomb, and shown on PBS. Steven Fischler then joined with the Museum of Jewish Heritage to create this exhibition.

By the time World War II began, Germany had purged itself of its Jewish professors, scientists, and scholars. Some of these academics, deprived of their livelihoods by the Nazis, found refuge in the United States. But in this new world, they faced an uncertain future. A few dozen refugee scholars unexpectedly found positions in historically black colleges in the American South. There, as recent escapees from persecution in Nazi Germany, they came face to face with the absurdities of a rigidly segregated Jim Crow society. In their new positions, they met, taught, and interacted with students who had grown up in, and struggled with, this racist environment.

Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow explored the unlikely coming together of these two groups, each the object of exclusion and hatred, and examined the ongoing encounter between them as they navigated the challenges of life in the segregated South.

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