Selling the Nazi Dream: Advertisement of the Anti-Semitic Film in the Third Reich

Jennifer Lee


The anti-Semitic films of Third Reich stand as a vivid illustration of the hatred targeted at the Jews in Germany from 1933 to 1945. Two of the anti-Semitic films in particular, Jud Süss (Veit Harlan, 1940) and Der Ewige Jude (Fritz Hippler, 1940), have received much attention from academics and the general public. In this paper, however, I will examine two other films that have been largely ignored: Robert und Bertram (Hans Zerlett, 1939) and Die Rothschilds (Erich Waschneck, 1940). These two films show that anti-Semitism could adopt very different guises in Third Reich film; it could appear in a light-hearted humorous farce film, like Robert und Bertram or in a serious historical drama, like Die Rothschilds. Just as anti-Semitism took different forms, so did the image of the Jew. Advertisers of the films walked a fine line between displaying the Jew as a repulsive, evil figure on the one hand and displaying him as an attractive, saleable figure on the other. As a result, the character of the Jew, and his counterpart, the Aryan, were often portrayed in very contradictory manners. By examining how advertisers marketed the genre, plot and characters for each of these two films, I will show how conflicting images and messages dominated even this cornerstone of Nazi ideology, the anti-Semitic film.


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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
ISSN (Online): 1712-5634