Germans and Czechs in the Sudetenland
- Film Title
- Die Goldene Stadt [The Golden City]
- Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Transit Film
Anna lives with her German father Mayor Jobst at a rural estate near Budweis in the Sudetenland. Her mother, of Czech origin, killed herself because of an unfulfilled desire to return to her native town of Prague. Already engaged to a young peasant from the village, Anna is attracted to the engineer Christian Leidwein from Prague and travels to the 'Golden City' to visit him. While staying with the family of her mother and working in their tobacco store, she is seduced and made-pregnant by cousin Toni Opferkuch. Her changing morals are accompanied by her changing appearance -- jewelry, make-up, and urban clothing. After realizing that Toni only pursued her for financial reasons, Anna returns to her father to beg his pardon. She arrives just in time to disturb his planned marriage with his Czech housekeeper. Thus, Anna commits suicide with the words: "Father forgive me for not loving the homeland as much as you did!"
This feature film based on the 1937 play "Der Gigant" ["The Giant"] by Richard Billinger depicts a dichotomy between the simple, honest, and healthy countryside of the Germans living in Sudetenland and the decadent, sinful, and corrupt big city of the Slavic Czechs. The notion of "Heimat" [place where one feels at home] is apotheosized as the place where one is born and should live until death - any relocation presents unavoidable disaster and finally death. The real danger of Rassenschande [race defilement] by uncontrolled female sexuality is evoked here, for the only possible reaction is suicide. Goebbels himself insisted on suicide as punishment and prevention of racially inferior offspring instead of accepting a lost daughter back into the family. It is difficult to recognize the Nazi elements of the film because Nazi ideology is masked in a love-story. After passing censorship on August 7, 1942 the dramatic film premiered to the public on November 24, 1942 with the distinction "kuenstlerisch besonders wertvoll" [artistically especially valuable] and was an enormous success in Germany, France, and Finland. At its first screening at the Biennale Venice on September 3, 1942, this second color movie of the Nazi state gained an International Film Chamber Award for Color Movies. Krista Soederbaum received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. "Die Goldene Stadt" was one of the most successful films of the Nazi era and gained a revenue of 43 Mio RM.
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