Der ewige Jude
September 1, 2009 3:33 PM   Subscribe

The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war.

Though it was exhibited throughout Germany and occupied Europe, popular audiences avoided the film's gruesome images of swarming rats and animal slaughter - preferring instead the anti-Semitic melodrama Jud Süß.

In 1958, the film was still considered so dangerous that it required the intervention of the Customs Department to permit Amos Vogel to show it at his Cinema 16. Today, the film can be seen at the Internet Archive here. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
"The relativity-Jew Einstein, who concealed his hatred of Germany behind his obscure pseudo-science"
Hmh. Always carries the roots of its own downfall.

It always irritates me the "if you could go back and kill Hitler" type assumptions that one individual was responsible for the entirety of this sort of thing.
These sorts of deceptions are necessary to genocidal mass movements. I think the film "The Remains of the Day" is pretty good in showing (from the first link) "explanations to the morally vital question why the perpetrators acted the way they did" and does give a hint of what made the Holocaust possible.
Indeed, a great deal of anti-semitism was around in England because of H.S. Chamberlain (Foundations, and in Germany itself as well.
I think it is that kind of oblique propaganda that has a more corrosive effect over the longer term. And those ideas have to already be in place before something like "The Eternal Jew" can be taken at all seriously by a viewer.
That is, the context for such a film has to be laid first, for it to generate any genuine hatred.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2009 [9 favorites]

What Smedleyman just said ... backed up by The Occult History of the Third Reich.
posted by philip-random at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Iam just back from Berlin and had some spare time to visit the city. There are at least two places worth visiting and mentioning.

The first one is the Holocaust memorial nearby Brandenburger Tor, which is also hard to miss from the Reichstag dome. It's not a graveyard, yet it conveid to me the sensation of being in one. I didn't notice any kind of writing on any of the monoliths and I guess that it could be by design, as it raises in the viewer the question "what am I looking at", as it cannot be immediately identified as a graveyard.

The second one, more interesting from the propaganda point of view, is Topography of Terror site which is best described with a quote
Between 1933 and 1945, the central institutions responsible for the repressive and criminal policies of National Socialism were located on the terrain of the Topography of Terror, situated between Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse (today Niederkirchnerstrasse), Wilhelmstrasse and Anhalter Strasse. Here, in close proximity to the traditional government district, the Secret State Police, the SS leadership and the Reich Security Main Office set up their offices: the administrative headquarters of the Secret State Police and the notorious Gestapo "house prison" were located at Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8; the neighbouring Hotel Prinz Albrecht housed the offices of the SS Reich leadership; and the Security Service (SD) of the SS Reich leadership was established at Wilhelmstrasse 102. As of 1939, Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8 was also the address of the newly founded Reich Security Main Office. With the concentration of these institutions at one site, this area in effect became the government district of the National Socialist SS and Police State. This is where Himmler, Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner and their assistants had their desks.
The site is going to reopen in a new building during may 2010, but right now the visitors can read fence mounted panels describing many of the people, the documents, the actions that took place in the site. A book containing all of the panels information can be bought at the temporary infocenter.

It seems to me that , at least in Berlin, the german state is doing a rather good job of remembering the Holocaust, yet I sense something is missing from a bigger picture. What was lacking, imho, was a clear understanding of the fact that the next wave of hatred will not necessarily present itself under an easily recognizable "nazi" brand and that the danger of political exploitation of hatred is quite present and not a relic of a distant brutal past.
posted by elpapacito at 4:41 PM on September 1, 2009 [5 favorites]

In my tradition of posting up lefty tracts, here's Moishe Postone's 'Anti‑Semitism and National Socialism' which is full of really thought-provoking insights:
One could mention many other factors, but there is one that I wish to emphasize. just as the commodity, understood as a social form, expresses its "double character" in the externalized opposition between the abstract (money) and the concrete (the commodity), so is bourgeois society characterized by the split between the state and civil society. For the individual, the split is expressed as that between the individual as citizen and as person. As a citizen, the individual is abstract as is expressed, for example, in the notion of equality before the (abstract) law, or in the principle of one person, one vote. As a person, the individual is concrete, embedded in real class relations that are considered to be "private," that is, pertaining to civil society, and which do not find political expression. In Europe, however, the notion of the nation as a purely political entity, abstracted from the substantiality of civil society, was never fully realized. The nation was not only a political entity, it was also concrete, determined by a common language, history, traditions, and religion. In this sense, the only group in Europe that fulfilled the determination of citizenship as a pure political abstraction was the Jews following their political emancipation. They were German or French citizens, but not really Germans or Frenchmen. They were of the nation abstractly, but rarely concretely. They were, in addition, citizens of most European countries. The quality of abstractness, characteristic not only of the value dimension in its immediacy, but also, mediately, of the bourgeois state and law, became closely identified with the Jews. In a period when the concrete became glorified against the abstract, against "capitalism" and the bourgeois state, this became a fatal association. The Jews were rootless, international, and abstract...

...Auschwitz, not the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, was the real "German Revolution," the attempted "overthrow," not merely of a political order, but of the existing social formation. By this one deed the world was to be made safe from the tyranny of the abstract. In the process, the Nazis "liberated" themselves from humanity.

The Nazis lost the war against the Soviet Union, America, and Britain. They won their war, their "revolution," against the European Jews. They not only succeeded in murdering six million Jewish children, women, and men. They succeeded in destroying a culture—a very old culture—that of European Jewry...
posted by Abiezer at 5:04 PM on September 1, 2009 [4 favorites]

This reminds me of the teabaggers.
posted by caddis at 7:25 PM on September 1, 2009

This reminds me of the teabaggers.

The idea that policy matters might be framed in such a way that "the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence" does seem to have some contemporary American parallels.

Jeffrey Feldman thinks so, anyway. From a March 2008 op-ed piece:

The right-wing frame of national security takes the form of a much more general, violent concept of a 'war' for American survival on 'two fronts.' In this logic, American national security is endangered by two enemies, not just by one: (1) by a global movement of Islamic militants and (2) by an internal war against cultural militants--Liberals.

The vast majority of dedicated Republican voters has been subject to years and years of this framing effort through an ongoing conversation on TV, radio, and in books.

Moreover, this 'two front' logic does more than lay out a sustained criticism of Democrats. It leads many Republicans to the false conclusion that Democrats--somehow--share a common goal with terrorists: the defeat of George W. Bush, the defeat of the United States in Iraq. It even leads many Republicans to believe that Democrats harbor a secret desire to bring about the end of the United States as we know it.

posted by Monsters at 8:18 PM on September 1, 2009

...and let us not forget the role of the church...
In fact, antisemitism could be found not just in Germany but in all of Europe and in the U.S. The difference? Germany was willing and did carry out the Martin Luther notion of ridding the country of its Jews (he could not forgive them for not converting). Germany systematically exterminated its Jews whereas aother nations only abused them ein many ways but stopped short of extermination.
posted by Postroad at 8:21 PM on September 1, 2009

Insert I/P analogy here.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:02 PM on September 1, 2009

I recently heard a German-speaker mutter under his breath, in disgust, "Juda". Near as I can recall, it is the only time I've heard the word spoken. I'm not Jewish, but it still sent chills down my spine. That the speaker also happened to be dressed in a black uniform (security) certainly helped the overall impression. It was also the second time I'd heard nasty remarks being muttered by employees in that place, about customers. I don't know what was said the first time, but it was directed at some Chinese tourists.

Mind, this happened in Switzerland, not Germany. I don't expect that kind of crap here. Perhaps I'm the naive one. I never got the whole anti-semetic thing.
posted by Goofyy at 12:37 AM on September 2, 2009

Mind, this happened in Switzerland, not Germany.

The Swiss never had to say sorry.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:18 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

...and further, the swiss are a pretty conservative and insular people, relative to their neighbors
posted by leotrotsky at 5:58 AM on September 2, 2009

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