The Eternal Jew
The Eternal Jew (1940) is an antisemitic German Nazi propaganda film, posing as a documentary. Its title in German is Der ewige Jude, the German term for the character of the Wandering Jew in medieval folklore.
At the insistence of Nazi Germany’s Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, the film was directed by Fritz Hippler. The screenplay is credited to Eberhard Taubert.
The film consists of feature and documentary footage combined with materials filmed shortly after the Nazi occupation of Poland. At this time Poland’s Jewish population was about three million, roughly ten percent of the total population. Actor Harry Giese (1903–1991) narrated.
Post-war, Fritz Hippler contended Joseph Goebbels was truly the creator of The Eternal Jew with close supervision of Hitler. It was Goebbels who gave Hippler credit as a reward “for his excellent work in the newsreel department.”
Later on an unrepentant Hippler was interviewed and he explains that he regrets that his name was listed as the director of The Eternal Jew because the Allies interrogated him after the war.
He thought this was very unfair because, in his opinion, he had nothing to do with the killing of Jews. However, in another interview in 2000, the 90-year old Hippler described the film as “the most disgraceful example of anti-semitism.”
The film has been banned for public use in Germany, the only exception is use in college classrooms and other academic gatherings; however, exhibitors must have formal education in “media science and the history of the Holocaust.”
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