The work of a notorious Nazi filmmaker will be examined as part of an exploration of the influence of propaganda movies at the annual Holocaust/Genocide Film Education Program, now in its seventh year.
Evil Through the Eye of the Lens: The Power of Film for Propaganda or Education, sponsored by the Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, will be held Monday, April 11, at 6 p.m. at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal.
Honorees will be New Jersey’s U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Dist. 4) and Dr. Paul Winkler, executive director of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education.
David Grubin — 10-time Emmy Award-winning producer of the PBS series The Jewish Americans — will be guest speaker. The event will feature Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Suss, a film by Felix Moeller.
Veit Harlan, a filmmaker who had the stature in Nazi Germany of today’s John Cameron or Steven Spielberg, made arguably the most anti-Semitic propaganda film of all time — Jud Suss — using well-known German actors. It was required viewing for all SS members and had wide distribution in Germany and its occupied countries. Harlan was the only Nazi-era film artist to be charged with war crimes.
His infamous legacy profoundly affected his children and grandchildren, some of whom became Jewish.
“Propaganda has enormous power, especially film propaganda,” said Grubin. “The Nazis used films to prepare the German people to accept the slaughter of the Jewish people….
“I once interviewed Fritz Hippler, the man who ran the film department in the Nazi propaganda ministry. I’m going to share that experience and talk about what makes propaganda effective in Hippler’s film The Eternal Jew and in Veit Harlan’s Jud Suss.”
“Each year we choose films that can illuminate different aspects of the Holocaust and other genocides to help prevent future mass atrocities,” said CRC chair Toby Shylit Mack. “This program is especially important in view of the virulent global anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of Israel through film and media propaganda.
“We are fortunate to have Mr. Grubin, a consummate educator through his unrivaled body of documentaries, who will use his expertise to provide insight into use of film for good or evil.”
Program sponsors are, in addition to the Axelrod center and the Holocaust commission, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education Center at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.
The free cocktail reception and program will begin at 6 p.m. Grubin will be available to sign DVDs of his acclaimed mini-series The Jewish Americans, which will be available for purchase to benefit this educational series.