matter of fact

why we believe in conspiracy theories

A digital exhibition about the history, structure, danger, and prevention of conspiracy theories

In recent years, there has been a surge in conspiracy theories. Today, one in three Germans believes in them. The coronavirus pandemic has shown itself to be a breeding ground for fake news and crude ideas about conspiracies, including antisemitic and racist resentment. In the face of the dissemination of these ideas, in the face of an increased radicalization and a willingness on the part of believers to engage in violence, it becomes clear that conspiracy theories must not be dismissed as simply the “crazy ideas” of some people, but rather have to be taken seriously as a real threat to democracy.

For these reasons, the Bildungsstätte Anne Frank is addressing the phenomenon of conspiracy theories in this exhibition, asking: why do people believe in them? What patterns do these theories follow? Is an opposition to vaccines and a criticism of protective measures unique to the coronavirus pandemic or do we find similar phenomena in history? What areas of overlap are there between conspiracy theories and scientific theories? Why are today’s conspiracy theories so dangerous? How can we protect ourselves from them – and stand up against them?

Our digital exhibition room is divided into 8 sections that systematically address the phenomenon of conspiracy theories using different modes of inquiry – from defining the term all the way to offering real preventative solutions. In the exhibition sections, visitors will get to know 7 experts who offer concise answers in short videos to the most pressing questions about conspiracy theories.