Nazi feature film: Antisemitic and anti-British propaganda
- Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress
Amschel Rothschild (Erich Ponto) in Frankfurt and his sons Nathan (Karl Kuhlmann) in London and James (Albert Lippert) in Paris are part of an international network of Jewish bankers lending money to powerful people in their respective countries at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Due to their international contacts and ruthless materialistic attitude, the Rothschilds earn money every time non-Jewish soldiers give their blood, for instance when Nathan benefits from advance information about the outcome of the battle of Waterloo. Nathan appears with a strong Jewish accent and appearance and is part of the "British-Jewish plutocracy" that strives for economic and political control over Europe. The movie ends with a Star of David superimposed over a map of England. This feature film propagates a common theme in Nazi propaganda: Britain as the current war enemy is defiled by "Verjudung" [becoming Jewish] because of 'Jews among the Aryans'.
Corresponding to the radicalization of anti-Jewish measures that cumulated on November 9, 1938 in Kristallnacht [The Night of Broken Glass], Goebbels issued a directive in November 1938 demanding the production of strictly antisemitic movies, reversing the former Nazi policy of depicting as few Jews as possible in movies. Thus three antisemitic movies premiered in 1940: "Jud Suess", "Der ewige Jude", and "Die Rothschilds". After passing censorship on July 16, 1940, "Die Rothschilds" premiered the next day in Berlin. Despite the reportedly positive reception by the population, it was withdrawn from circulation in September 1940 to be rewritten and renamed. It reappeared with an even stronger anti-British bias on July 2, 1941 under the new title "Die Rothschilds. Aktien auf Waterloo" [The Rothschilds. Shares in Waterloo] (USHMM holds this re-released version). However, Goebbels and NS party circles were still dissatisfied because the depiction of the British was not unanimously appalling enough to strengthen anti-British mentality. Therefore the movie was not discussed in detail in the press and did not win any distinctions. Nevertheless, it gained RM 1,093 million as estimated profit and cost only RM 951,000 to produce.
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