Glenn Beck’s Disturbing Nazi Memorabilia Exhibit in Salt Lake City
Lacking any deference to professional standards of display, Beck’s exhibition offered no connection between these items and the early Americana nearby. From a museological perspective, the show was brazenly dilettante. Known to be a fringe demagogue, Beck has often drawn parallels between Nazi history and contemporary American politics, acts which have brought him much criticism — and parody. The exhibition at the Grand America, however, represented a departure from Beck’s usual rhetoric.
To start, I can’t help wondering what prompted Beck to collect such macabre objects and include them among his personal belongings. What are the virtues of owning Göring’s love letters, Hitler’s signature or a few drops of his blood?
Surely, harboring such items adheres to a personality cult and suggests a sympathizer rather than a critic. The very presence of these objects begs the question: How does this material survive?
More than 70 years old, most of the detritus of Germany’s Nationalsozialisten was destroyed after the war and continue to be banned to this day. The survival of such “memorabilia” can only be achieved with help from Nazi sympathizers wishing to pass on the torch.
The proximity of the bloody handkerchief with Anne Frank’s diary was deeply offensive, and insensitive to Salt Lake City’s Jewish community. Among them are Holocaust survivors and their descendants, including myself, who found this profoundly distasteful.