After the Anschluss – March 12, 1938 – any Austrian who wanted to position himself well, early expressed his loyalty to the new system. The children’s magazine Das Kleine Kinderblatt only three weeks later campaigned with the popular Bobby Bear for the referendum confirming the annexation, and later they published as the first item of the series with the Kleines Blatt around the world the table game Our homeland, Great Germany, where we arrive from Vienna through 254 stations to Berlin. On the edge of the map Bobby Bear and his friends are dancing again.
The Viennese publisher Günther & Co. went even further, by demonstrating not only who belongs to Great Germany, but also who does not. In the table game published by them already in 1936, the players walking about the city had to collect as many Jews as possible outside the city walls, from where they were then transported to Palestine.
|Zeige Geschick im Würfelspiel,|
damit du sammelst der Juden viel!
Gelingt es dir 6 Juden rauszujagen,
so bist Du Sieger ohne zu fragen!
Auf nach Palästina!
|Show your skill in dice game,|
collect the most possible Jews!
If you succeeded in hunting down six Jews,
you’re the winner without any question!
Up to Palestine!
According to game historian Barbara Rogansky (1999) about one million (!) copies of the game were sold until Christmas 1938, when the company launched it on the market for a second time, expecting an even more favorable reception in the new system. However, the new system thoroughly disproved their expectations.
A few days after the release of the game, on December 29, 1938 a devastating critique appeared in Das Schwarze Kopf, the journal of the SS, with the title Judenproblem im Knobelbecher (Jewish problem in the dice cup). The party’s mouthpiece cast up with harsh words that while the national socialist movement makes huge efforts to suppress the Jewish mob, the Viennese publisher exploits the political effort, and degrades it to children’s pastime:
|“Wir rackern uns nicht mit der Lösung der Judenfrage ab, um geschäftstüchtigen Spielzeugfabrikanten die Sorge um einen großartigen Verkaufsschlager abzunehmen oder um Kindern zu einem erheiternden Spielchen zu verhelfen. Juden raus, jawohl! aber auch schleunigst raus aus den Spielzeugkisten unserer Kinder, ehe sie zu dem schleußlichen Irrtum verleitet werden, daß politische Probleme mit dem Knobelbecher gelöst werden können.”||“We toil with the solution of the Jewish question not in order some enterprising toy manufacturers convert the problem into a business success and earn a lot with it, or they entertain the children with an exhilarating game. Out with the Jews, jawohl! but out with them also of the toy boxes of our children, before they are led to the grave error that political problems can be solved by the dice cups.”|
The game immediately disappeared from the company’s catalog. We would be curious of the long face of the eager publisher on reading the fatal criticism. One thing he certainly learned from it, which has since been proven by every dictatorship. The independent initiative is unacceptable even when if it is in the interest of the regime. After all, this is the essence of the system.