Movies and the Third Reich

Movies during the Third Reich were created under the UFA (Universum Film Aktionsgesellschaft …or Universal Film Company)

- More than 1000 movies were released between 1933 and 1945
- All were first viewed and censored by Goebbels
- All had a political agenda…some more subtle than others
- Most tried to be of a high artistic quality
- Weekly trailers, or newsreels, preceded the main movie
- About 40 Nazi movies were so manipulative that they’re still considered dangerous and should only be watched in an educational setting. These include Ich klage an (I Accuse) about a woman with MS who choses death, thus promoting euthanasia; and Jud Süss (Süss the Jew) which demonizes Jews. In 1940, Jud Süss was a box office hit, both in Germany and abroad.
- Male actors included: Hans Albers, (one of my favourites because he had the same low German dialect as my dad), Ferdinand Marian, (who reluctantly took the main role in Jud Süss, Emil Jannings (honored as Artist of the State, by Goebbels), and Willi Frisch (who played light-hearted roles with comedy, dance and song).
- Among the many female stars were: Zarah Leanders, Kristina Söderbaum, Lilian Harvey and Renate Müller. Their off-screen lives were more fascinating than many of the films they starred in.

I assume that my father (in 1940, a yong Luftwaffe pilot) probably saw many of these Nazi movies, but I doubt that my mother saw too many because she lived in more rural areas. However, in my upcoming novel, Amber Stone, my protagonist, Katya, will see Zarah Leanders on the big screen, along with an uncomfortable newsreel about Aryans and genetics.

I’d love to see the documenatary, Hitler's Hollywood, by Rüdiger Suchsland, which came out in 2017 and has received critical success in Germany.  It’ll be released in the States in the spring of 2018. I’ll be watching for it.

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