January 25, 2018 / 6:08 PM / 9 months ago

CORRECTED-"Fake news" is not new: the Nazis used it too, says Holocaust exhibit

(Corrects name of exhibit, context in fourth paragraph)

By Samantha Koester

BRUSSELS, Jan 25 (Reuters) - “Fake news” is not new: an exhibit in Brussels calls on visitors to see a parallel in Nazi Germany.

The exhibit in the halls of European Parliament focuses on how the Nazi party used propaganda and the media to help Adolf Hitler win power in Germany.

Curator Steven Luckert, who brought the exhibit to the European Union capital from the Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington D.C., said the tactics mirror those used by populist parties today to appeal to voters.

The exhibit - “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” - provides insights into how propagandists seek to influence politics around the world.

The original version of the exhibition appeared in 2009 and it has since travelled around the United States.

Luckert hopes it will help counter the rise of racism and anti-Semitism in Europe. “There are some frightening aspects of contemporary culture and society that we’re seeing with the growth of the far-right movement in places,” he said.

Through photographs, old newspapers, slogans and other materials disseminated by the Nazi party, the exhibition tries to shed light on how it sold itself - increasing its power in the German parliament from 6.5 to 33.3 percent over eight years.

It shows how the party’s marketing campaigns targeted women, farmers, and other more vulnerable classes of society. Even Hitler’s use of body language helped to form public opinion.

Luckert said the Nazi’s success came in part from people’s desire for conformity, which encouraged them to act differently in a group, for example, by supporting something they might not otherwise.

“Propaganda works not just to change your opinion, but to change how you behave,” he said.

The exhibit is at the European Parliament until May 13. (Reporting by Samantha Koester; Editing by Larry King and Keith Weir)

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