Skip’s Quips: The Horror of ‘Jud Süß’

Blog Sketch 082813Everyone should see the movie Jud Süß.

There’s a reason for that: It’s one of the most horrifying pictures ever made. This is slickly crafted Nazi propaganda, a wartime movie that viciously portrays Jews as evil, conniving monsters out to rape non-Jewish women and destroy others while making oodles of money. I watched this film recently because I believed I needed to see it as part of my cinematic education.

I’m glad I did.

It’s a monument to the tyranny of the Third Reich and extremely disturbing. It also has strong production values and impassioned acting, which contributed to its effectiveness as propaganda. I can only wonder what its impact was when it debuted in Germany to already anti-Semitic audiences. It must’ve been scary.

I don’t think this is a movie that should be seen without context. Instead, it should be shown in museums and schools as part of an educational initiative. No one should forget what atrocities the Nazis committed, and this film is part of its effort to blame the Jews for all kinds of problems. As a Jew, I believe it’s essential to see this movie with the perspective that the Nazi regime used all kinds of tools to convey its vile, racist ideology. Everyone should remember what happened. Watching this picture is a way to do so.

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