The Wiener Library holds two copies of what has been called “history’s most infamous board game.”
Juden Raus was developed by the company Günther and Co in Dresden during the Third Reich. Using crude antisemitic stereotypes and imagery, the game was very much in keeping with the fascist ideas propagated at the time. The game’s themes reflect racial hatred, forced deportations, and confiscation of Jewish property.
The board shows a walled town, through which players move to round up Jews and deposit them outside the city walls, where a slogan reads “Auf nach Palästina!” (English: “Off to Palestine!”) The winner is the first to remove six people. Described in promotional material as an “up-to-date and outstandingly jolly party game for grown-ups and children,” this game is a reflection of the ideals of the Nazi state.
However, the game was in fact not endorsed by the Nazis officially, as it was seen to trivialise Nazi policies, and create an easy target for criticism of the Third Reich in international press. A scathing review of the game in the SS publication ‘Das Schwarze Korps’ in December 1938 reads “the political slogan ‘Jews Out’ is exploited here as a bestseller for all toy shops and trivialised to an amusing pastime for little children…We are not slaving away towards the solution of the Jewish question to relieve able toymakers of their worries about a big seller or to help children with an amusing little game.”
While Juden Raus is not a Nazi board game inasmuch as it was criticised by them, and contained no Nazi insignia, the fact of its existence reveals the extent to which antisemitism had permeated society, while the casual, cheery tone used in the text accompanying the game reveals how socially acceptable such bigotry was at the time.
On 15 January 2017, Juden Raus was featured on a special Holocaust Memorial edition of BBC One's Antiques Roadshow - read more on our News page.