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Der Ewige Jude

Der Ewige Jude

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Published by: Sara Oh on Nov 19, 2011
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This article was downloaded by: [Harvard College]On: 15 September 2011, At: 14:52Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/chjf20
‘‘Der ewige jude’’ (1940): Joseph Goebbels' unequaledmonument to anti-Semitism
Stig Hornsh
& David Culbert
Louisiana State UniversityAvailable online: 15 Sep 2006
To cite this article:
Stig Hornsh
ller & David Culbert (1992): ‘‘Der ewige jude’’ (1940): Joseph Goebbels' unequaledmonument to anti-Semitism, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 12:1, 41-67
To link to this article:
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use:http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form toanyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug doses shouldbe independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims,proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1992
"Der ewige Jude" (1940): Joseph Goebbels"unequaled monument to anti-Semitism
Louisiana State University
On 24 October 1939, German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels noted in hisdiary: 'Further rushes for our Jewish film. The synagogue shots are extremely clear. Atthe moment we are working to make a propaganda masterpiece out of all this.' Elevenmonths later, 3 September 1940, he added:
'The Eternal flew.
Now this documentary isabsolutely splendid. A sublime creation. Fritz Hippler has acquitted himself well.' [1]
The Eternal flew
[Der ewige Jude--De)'] has special notoriety in the history of film.Often considered propaganda to prepare viewers for the Final Solution, it would,according to Erwin Leiser, 'turn honest citizens into indulgent mass murderers'; forHans Barkhausen, the film is 'a denial of all humanity' [2]. No modem viewer can failto condemn the purpose and realization of this film; it may not be screened inGermany, except for classroom use with a careful scholarly introduction; its distribu-tion is carefully-controlled elsewhere. Yet it is often, in excerpt, part of documentaryprogramming, simply because the effect of the film is so repulsive/attractive thatfilmmakers
use it. And while the film continues to fuel demands for priorcensorship, it may be openly purchased and screened in America. Many worry that thisfilm will encourage neo-Nazism, and there is evidence that the film is capable of justsuch a response [3].This film, the ultimate in filmic anti-Semitism, owes its origin partly in the privatelife of Joseph Goebbels. In the summer of 1938, Goebbels fell into Hitler's disfavourbecause of a love affair with movie star Lida Baarova [4]. Goebbels desperately soughtto regain Hitler's favour, and decided to do something to play upon Hitler's obsessiveanti-Semitism. Though racial ideology was a propaganda staple in Germany, manyseemed to accept only positive aspects emphasizing the value of German culture.On 8-9 November, Nazi Germany celebrated one of its most solemn occasions, thecommemoration of Hitler's failed Munich
of 1923. In Paris, on 9 November, aGerman diplomat, Ernst yon Rath, died from wounds inflicted by a Polish Jew,Herschel Grynszpan. Goebbels suddenly had a new martyr, and ordered the
with its destruction of Jewish property and synagogues all over Germany. Hehad, however, gone too far. Not only abroad, but inside Germany as well, there wassubstantial protest over what had happened to the Jews. Goebbels had to conclude thatnot enough Germans were as yet enlightened, and he turned to his favorite propagandamedium, film. He tried to send a film crew to shoot in the Polish Ghetto, but Polishauthorities refused, and the desired footage was not possible before the campaign inPoland ended. On 2 October 1939, Wehrmacht propaganda company cameramanHeinz Kluth was ordered to film stories of Jewish life in Warsaw [5].
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S. Hornsh4j-M$ller & D. Culbert
'Convince yourself of how these Jews live, of where they belong. Shoot life in thePolish ghetto.' Fritz Hippler received this order from Goebbels on 8 October 1939, asthe latest newsreel was being screened for final approval. Capture everything of Jewishghetto life, before its demise, explained Goebbels. 'The Fiihrer will have all of themmoved to Madagascar or some other area. We will need film documents for ourrecords.' [6]Hippler, with a film crew including cameraman Erich Stoll, rushed to Lodz, Poland.They shot exteriors, a synagogue service, and the kosher ritual slaughtering of animalsthat would make
so notorious. Eight days later, on 16 October Hippler showed hisfootage to Goebbels. According to Hippler's memoirs, Goebbelswanted to show me how somebody with a proper attitude towards the Jewishquestion would react. Almost every close-up was accompanied by shouts ofdisgust and loathing; some scenes he criticized so strongly as if to bring areaction from the screen itself; at the ritual slaughter-scenes, he held hishands over his face.Goebbels recorded a different impression in his diary: 'Scenes so horrific and brutal intheir explicitness that one's blood runs cold. One shudders at such barbarism.' [7]The day-to-day development of
Der ewige Jude
is uncertain because of a gap inGoebbels' diary entries between 30 May and 9 October 1939, but something dramatichappened with the outbreak of war on 1 September. Hitler could now claim that Polishghetto Jews were literally the cause of the war. We can be certain of one thing: thefootage shot in the Lodz ghetto was never intended simply for the film archive; it wasmeant for a propaganda film about the Jewish question.Such an enterprise scarcely represented a first-time assault on German Jews. Thetitle,
Der ewige Jude,
is the same as an exhibition which Goebbels and Julius Streicheropened in Munich on 8 November 1937, (see Fig. 1). A compilation
film, Juden ohneMaske [Jews without Masks],
was approved by the censor on 18 July 1938. WalterB6tticher's film for the Propaganda Ministry incorporated anti-Semitic film excerptsscreened at the Munich exhibition. Some of this footage ended up in
[8].The idea for a documentary film about the Jewish Question clearly came fromGoebbels himself. He followed the project in minute detail, as his many diary entiresconfirm. Not only was Goebbels the producer, but as head of the Propaganda Ministry,he controlled a hierarchical structure which ensured that subordinates obeyed orders(see Fig. 2). Goebbels went to Lodz with Eberhard Tanbert and Erich Stoll inNovember 1939 to film sequences for
[9].Others made important contributions. Goebbels' collaborator, Dr Eberhard Taubert,had organized the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question in 1934. Taubertoften spoke with Goebbels as how best to increase public awareness of the JewishQuestion inside Germany. Credits for
say the film is 'based on an idea' ofTaubert's. This lawyer, whose nickname 'Dr Anti', suggests his ideological bent, wasborn in Kassel in 1907. He joined the Nazi Party in 1931, quickly establishing himselfas a propagandist for all things anti-Bolshevist. Taubert collected the data about theprominent Jews mentioned in
he probably wrote the script for the film.Fritz Hippler received credit as Director. Born in 1909, he joined the
moving soon to the
He joined the Nazi Party in 1925, when he wasseventeen. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 1934, with adissertation on John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx. While studying at the BerlinHochschule for Politics, he took an active role in the notorious Nazi burning of the
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