Welcome to the Stop the Hate Digital Tour, an online version of the Maltz Museum's most popular student tour. 

Hate has known many forms in human history. On this tour you'll be given opportunities to reflect on intolerance and oppression in the world and in your own life by: 

  • Studying historical documents and artifacts and engaging in meaningful activities;
  • Examining how destructive forces can affect a group of people socially, economically, and politically;
  • Identifying possible solutions for advancing inclusivity.

This tour complements the museum’s Stop The Hate ® scholarship contest, in which students write about actions they have taken against bias experienced in their own lives for a chance to win scholarship money for themselves and their schools.

Welcome to the tour!

Please provide your email so we can stay in touch.

Before you begin your tour, we offer you the option of watching a Stop the Hate introductory film that is shown at the museum. This film may be difficult for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised. To skip this film click here.

use of power and influence

Hiding in plain sight

What we see

These are two Ku Klux Klan robes, one for an adult and one for a child. The adult robe has a crest with a white cross on a red background and a red tassel coming from the tip of the hood.

What we know

The Ku Klux Klan was formed in the aftermath of the Civil War and has reappeared in times of economic or political turmoil. The Klan believed in the superiority of white Protestants and used its platform to terrorize African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and other “undesirables.” They preyed on people’s fears and their hopes of returning to a “true” America. Robes like these were worn by members of the Klan both to hide the identity of members and to strike fear into their victims.

At its peak in the 1920s the Klan is estimated to have had 5 million members in chapters across the country. The chapter in Summit County, Ohio, is believed to have been the largest, claiming 50,000 members. In many communities, the Klan infiltrated every aspect of life. Members who held influential public positions such as politicians, police officers, and teachers sanctioned lynchings, cross-burnings, beatings, and murders without repercussion. 

Those who stood up and spoke out against the Klan risked being targeted and terrorized. The threat of violence didn't deter Abner Goldman from running for Cleveland city council in the 1925 municipal elections. Goldman's anti-Klan platform gained endorsement from the Cleveland News, enabling him to rally public support and defeat Klan-backed candidates, lessening their political power. 

What we wonder
What would it be like to live in a city where the sheriff, mayor, judges, and school board were members of the Klan? Would you feel safe standing up to them? How were so many people convinced to join? Why would a hate group like the Klan make a child’s uniform? 

Child KKK hood and smock, Adult KKK hood and smock, date unknown, Western Reserve Historical Society

A platform for hate

What we see

This is a book entitled The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem, published in 1920 in Dearborn, Michigan. This is the first volume in a set of four.

What we know

The International Jew was based on a Russian hoax text written in the early 1900s called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which claimed the existence of a Jewish-organized international conspiracy. Although thoroughly debunked, the text was circulated around the world reaching the editor of The Dearborn Independent, a weekly newspaper owned by industrialist and notorious antisemite Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company. 

The Dearborn Independent reached 900,000 people at its peak and was used as a tool to spread Ford's views. Under his direction the paper published excerpts and adaptations of The Protocols for 91 issues, which were then compiled into the book The International Jew. Ford funded the printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the United States. Free copies were sent to public libraries and given to customers at every Ford Motor dealership in the country.

With the Ford name behind it, the publication took off and gave legitimacy to otherwise fringe ideas. Ford's position of power provided him a public platform with which to popularize antisemitism.

What we wonder
Why did people listen to claims that were obviously false, as The Protocols had been debunked around the time Ford began publishing? What happens when a powerful person shares hateful rhetoric?

The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem, c. 1920, Western Reserve Historical Society


American citizens have come together throughout history to enact change, from the women's suffrage movement, which gave women the right to vote, to the civil rights movement, which achieved equal rights legislation for African Americans. Such movements are made possible by individuals using their voices to speak out for what they believe in.

Think about a cause that you believe in. How would you change the world for the better? Research different ways that people express their viewpoints in order to be heard. Then, make your voice heard using one of the prompts below.

  • Listen to protest music and write your own poem or song.
  • Look at protest art and create your own poster or drawing.
  • Read or watch protest speeches and write your own essay or speech.

Legalized Hate vs Individual Hate

Targeted for extermination

What we see

We can see a fraying, yellow piece of cloth in the shape of a six pointed star. Printed on the cloth is a Star of David outlined by stitch marks with the word “Jude” (German for “Jew”) written in a faux-Hebrew script.

What we know

In 1933, Adolf Hitler came to power in the wake of a global economic crisis and turned Germany into a dictatorship. As leader of the Nazi party, which was characterized by nationalism and antisemitism, Hitler immediately created policies that targeted Jews. 

First, the Nazis instituted a boycott of Jewish businesses. Then they forced Jewish doctors, lawyers, and teachers out of their jobs. Next, the Nazis prohibited Jewish students from attending public schools. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were passed, declaring that Jews were not German citizens and therefore had no legal rights. This was only the beginning of anti-Jewish measures used by Nazis to segregate Jews from non-Jews.

After the start of World War II, when Germany invaded Poland and declared war on France and the United Kingdom, the persecution of Jews across Europe intensified. Nazis required Jews to stitch yellow cloth stars onto their clothing as a means of identification. Those who refused risked violent punishment, including death. 

The German government used its power and influence to dehumanize Jews, ultimately leading to legal systematic murder. In total six million Jews, including 1.5 million children, were murdered by the Nazis during this period, known as the Holocaust.

What we wonder
What do you think it was like to live in Germany during this time period? How would you respond if you or your friend wasn't allowed back to school because of religion? Can you think of examples when people are treated differently because of how they look or what they wear? What could have stopped small acts of hate and discrimination from building into genocide?

Yellow Star of David, 1945, Mark Novak

Blocked from the American dream

What we see

We can read a series of letters between John D. Rockefeller Jr., a Cleveland area real estate developer; Charles Sands, a Cleveland resident; Charles O. Heydt, Rockefeller’s agent; and James C. Jones, a realtor. These letters describe the actions taken to block Jewish families from purchasing homes in the Forest Hills neighborhood.

What we know

Cleveland is considered one of the top ten most segregated cities in the United States. In 2019 USA Today published an article highlighting that 42% of Cleveland's black residents live in predominantly black neighborhoods, which is well above the national average of 17%. Segregated neighborhoods are a result of decades-long individual and systemic discrimination against black people, Jews, and other minorities.

During the early twentieth century, discriminatory housing practices were used to prevent black people, Jews, and other minorities from buying homes in white neighborhoods. Although minorities were legally able to be homeowners, individual developers, realtors, and residents made it nearly impossible through deed restrictions, harassment, and open hostility.

When minorities applied for bank loans to purchase homes in minority neighborhoods they were often still rejected because the neighborhoods were considered high risk investments by lenders. Government agencies wanted to help banks reduce lending risk and created residential security maps that color-coded neighborhoods: green for best, blue for still desirable, yellow for definitely declining, and red for hazardous. This process, known as redlining, made it harder for minorities to buy homes establishing the start of a persistent racial wealth gap. 

Redlining remained in effect until 1968, when it was outlawed with the passing of the Fair Housing Act, which made it it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin when selling a house. However, the effects of redlining persist to this day.  Studies show that many redlined neighborhoods are still minority neighborhoods struggling economically.

What we wonder
Would you want to move into a neighborhood where you knew residents would be openly hostile to you? What would you do if you saw someone being harassed for their race or religion in your neighborhood? Can you think of any other influences that redlining might have on people living in neighborhoods then and now?

Correspondence between principles of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s Forest Hill development, c. 1932, Rockefeller Family Library

Activity: Share your ideas

You can use your voice to be an agent for change. Letter writing campaigns are a popular tool for sharing individual concerns and ideas with elected officials and organizational leaders. The more people they hear from on a certain topic, the more they know this is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

Is there something in the world that you would like to see changed? It can be anything from wanting more vegetarian options on the lunch menu at school to making a case for stricter anti-bullying laws in your state. Here's what you can do next:

  • Research your topic and select who you will write to
  • Write a letter outlining your concerns and ideas
  • Ask a teacher or parent to review your letter with you
  • Talk about your topic and invite others to send their own letter

Upstanders, Bystanders, and Perpetrators

Bleeding for civil rights

What we see

This black and white photograph of Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld was taken on July 10, 1964, after he was beaten by white supremacists. His shirt is stained with blood, and he has a bandage over his right eye.

What we know

Black men were granted the right to vote with the passing of the 15th amendment in 1870, but southern states enacted laws that raised barriers to voter registration. For over 80 years, southern states used poll taxes and literacy tests to ensure that black men were prevented from exercising their voting rights. Those who attempted to register to vote faced violent reprecussions from the Ku Klux Klan and local law enforcement. 

In the 1950s and ‘60s, securing voting rights in the South became a central focus of the civil rights movement. In the summer of 1964, approximately one thousand activists from the North and West banded together with the black community in Mississippi, where registration of eligible black voters was the lowest in the country. This movement became known as Freedom Summer.

Violent white segregationists used harassment and even murder to intimidate black voters and volunteer activists. One such activist was Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld from Cleveland, who was beaten with tire irons by two white segregationists while canvassing for voter registration. Despite the attack, Lelyveld continued to encourage others to join him as an upstander in the civil rights movement.

What we wonder
Why do you think Lelyveld felt compelled to leave Cleveland to register voters in Mississippi? What do you think caused most white Southerners to stand by for decades while black voters were being discriminated against? Can you identify the upstanders and perpetrators?

Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, Herbert Randall, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 1964, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi

Escalating Nazi terror

What we see

We see a black and white photograph of a Jewish shopfront destroyed during Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) which occurred in 1938. Several onlookers examine the damage, while others walk by.

What we know

In 1938, Germany was under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Antisemitism had been escalating within Germany for five years, when a 17-year-old German-born Jew living in Paris protested the treatment of Jews by assassinating a German diplomat. In response German military and civilians carried out a series of violent attacks on November 9 and November 10, 1938 in an incident known as Kristallnacht.

Nazis torched 267 synagogues, destroyed 7,000 Jewish businesses, vandalized Jewish homes and schools, desecrated Jewish cemeteries, and killed close to 100 Jewish people. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. The riots were designed to look spontaneous, but Nazi party officials and Hitler Youth were given instructions in advance and police and firefighters were told not to intervene unless it was to save non-Jewish homes and businesses.

Not all Nazis and non-Jewish citizens participated in Kristallnacht. Some individuals bravely offered assistance to Jewish families at the risk of being killed or sent to concentration camps. The majority of Germans watched passively, their silence as bystanders signaling that violence against Jews could be taken further, marking a turning point in history. Many Historians consider Kristallnacht the beginning of the Holocaust.

What we wonder
Who do you think the onlookers are in the photograph and what might they be thinking or feeling? Would you risk your own safety to help someone who is different than you? Why did upstanders help the Jews when the consequences were so dire?

The shattered front of Jewish-owned stores, November 17, 1938, Bettman/Corbis

Activity: What role will you play?

We all play a role in any given situation whether we realize it or not at the time. We can be an upstander (someone taking a stand and helping solve the problem), bystander (someone who knows about the problem, but are not helping to fix it), or perpetrator (someone causing the problem). Which role do you hope to play?

  • In the center of a blank piece of paper, describe the role you hope to play.
  • Brainstorm as many adjectives as you can to describe the traits or characteristics of a person in that role.
  • Pick the word that most inspires you and draw it on a new piece of paper.
  • Hang the inspiration art somewhere that serves as a reminder.

Meet northeast Ohio Student upstanders

No mater how young or old we are, each of us can take a stand an make a difference. Meet student upstanders in Northeast Ohio making a change.

The Stop the Hate® contest is an initiative of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage that celebrates Northeast Ohio students committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society by standing up and speaking out against bias and bigotry as they compete for the chance to win a prestigious award. Each year about 3,000 students enter, and with the help of 400 volunteer readers, 25 finalists are named. Since the contest started 12 years ago, over 30,000 students in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio have participated, and as of this year, $1.2 million has been awarded. Rooted in the Jewish value of respect for all humanity, the Maltz Museum is proud that it continues to give young people of all faiths and backgrounds a platform to speak out in support of inclusion and diversity. Congratulations to everyone who has shared their inspiring stories with us.

Continue learning

Recommended Reading:

Download a book list of recommended reading created to complement the Stop the Hate Program, courtesy of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood Branch.

Educator Resources:

Download a learning progression to be used by classroom or homeschool educators participating in the Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out Essay Contest, developed in partnership with the Jewish Education Center.

Rock Hall EDU:

Visit Rock Hall EDU to see a collection of education materials presented by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in partnership with the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Roots of American Music for use with the Stop the Hate program.

Participate in the Stop the hate essay writing and song writing contests:

Learn more about the Stop the Hate Contests.

Contact education department:

If you comments or questions, let us know by sending an email to education@mmjh.org. Maltz Museum staff are available to discuss how to use these resources as part of the Stop the Hate Program.

© 2020 Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage