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Antisemitism in Film Comedy in Nazi Germany

Valerie Weinstein

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Indiana University Press
05 March 2019
Today many Germans remain nostalgic about classic film comedies created during the 1930s, viewing them as a part of the Nazi era that was not tainted with antisemitism. In Antisemitism in Film Comedy in Nazi Germany, Valerie Weinstein scrutinizes these comic productions and demonstrates that film comedy, despite its innocent appearance, was a critical component in the effort to separate Jews from Germans physically, economically, and artistically. Weinstein highlights how the German propaganda ministry used directives, pre- and post-production censorship, financial incentives, and influence over film critics and their judgments to replace Jewish wit with a slower, simpler, and more direct German humor that affirmed values that the Nazis associated with the Aryan race. Through contextualized analyses of historical documents and individual films, Weinstein reveals how humor, coded hints and traces, absences, and substitutes in Third Reich film comedy helped spectators imagine an abstract Jewishness and a German identity and community free from the former. As resurgent populist nationalism and overt racism continue to grow around the world today, Weinstein's study helps us rethink racism and prejudice in popular culture and reconceptualize the relationships between film humor, national identity, and race.
Imprint:   Indiana University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm, 
ISBN:   9780253040718
ISBN 10:   025304071X
Pages:   298
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Valerie Weinstein is Associate Professor in the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and affiliate faculty in German Studies, Judaic Studies, and Film and Media Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She is editor (with Barbara Hales and Mihaela Petrescu) of Continuity and Crisis in German Cinema, 1928-1936.

Reviews for Antisemitism in Film Comedy in Nazi Germany

Antisemitism in Film Comedy in Nazi Germany offers an intriguing point of departure for future inquiries into the functions of coded antisemitism in mainstream Western culture today. -- Ofer Ashkenazi- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem * Antisemitism Studies *

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