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Jew Süss (1940) is a gripping depiction of Jewish-gentile relations. Set in 18th century Germany, the film centers on the Duke of Württemberg and a local ghetto-Jew, Süss, who slowly works is way into the duke's court, becoming his top advisor and benefactor. As he becomes ever more powerful, Süss engages in all sorts of abuses. His crimes eventually catch up with him, and he is forced to face the wrath of the townspeople.
Regardless of your opinion of its political message, Jew Süss is an engrossing and insightful story.
It is probably the most entertaining and accurate depiction of the Jewish life-cycle: financial scheming, attaining and abusing power, angering the gentiles, and, finally, pogram.
Few people realize today that Nazi Germany had a world class movie industry, as advanced at the time as anything in Hollywood, based outside Berlin. Berlin and Hollywood were the two big centers for movies at the time. The talent was first rate across the board - writers, directors, actors, cameramen, and the studios and technology were cutting edge. The German government subsidized the industry heavily, and the studios churned out movies right until the end of the war. Some of the best films made during the Nazi era were during, and even towards the end of the war.
Most of the films were non-ideological or political, rather they were human interest dramas and comedies meant to entertain the population during wartime privations. They provide a fascinating insight into daily life in the 3rd Reich. Because the Russians reached Berlin first, they captured the film archives, and brought them to Moscow. When the USSR collapsed dozens of the best films were commercially released on DVDs, subtitled into Russian, and were widely seen by the public. They are still widely available in Russia.
If you are looking for the film online, do not confuse it with the 1934 British film, Jew Suss (in the US retitled Power – Jew Suss), which is, surprise, surprise, sympathetic to Jews. The German film has been scrubbed from YouTube, but is available on Bitchute and other platforms.
Synopsis (from Metapedia):
Rich Jewish financier Joseph Süß Oppenheimer leading the Duke of Württemberg astray by using large bribes, usury, and other manipulations. Süß uses the gained influence to further enrich himself at the expense of population of Württemberg. He also manages to repeal the law prohibiting Jews from living in Württemberg which causes further exploitation of the population.
Increasingly coercive methods is used to control the rising unrest among the people. Another part of the narrative is a tragic love story ending with the suicide of the woman after being coerced into sex by Süß in order to free her husband from prison and torture. Finally the people rebel, the soldiers refuse to fire on them, Süß is executed, and the other Jews are expelled. As the film draws to a close, a citizens of Württemberg, observing the Jews leaving, comments, "May the citizens of other states never forget this lesson."
More from Metapedia:
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1940 and earned the top award. The film became a great box-office success in Germany and abroad. The film was also shown for propaganda purposes to various groups.
After the war many of the participants faced various problems due to their participation (including death in a Soviet camp in one case) and the director was charged with "aiding crimes against humanity" from which he ultimately was exonerated by shifting the blame to the dead Goebbels. All the cast members also disclaimed responsibility and claimed they had been coerced. An attempt was made to totally destroy the film which would have succeeded if copies of the film had not survived in Muslim countries. The film is restricted or banned in several European countries.
In comparison, the 1940 anti-Jewish propaganda documentary The Eternal Jew was a box-office failurereference required. The degree to which the more subtle propaganda techniques used in Jud Süß have influenced various forms of subtle political propaganda in later films is unclear as few would admit such an influence after the war.
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