Can propaganda act as a fairytale? Fairytales are not only entertaining, but they teach certain behaviors and attitudes just like propaganda. Whether fairytales are produced by the government or regular citizens, they can tell historians about the country they were made in and what that country values. Viet Harlan directed and wrote the screenplay for the film Jud Süß. This movie was filmed and released in 1940 and the notorious character of Joseph Suss Oppenheimer is portrayed by Ferdinand Marian. When it was released, Jud Süß acted as a fairytale in the way that it glorifies German ideals for society, it has a clear moral, and has both a hero and a villain.
One of the significant ways that Jud Süß acts as a fairytale is its glorification …show more content…
The message that is pronounced throughout the movie is that Jews are horrible people and Germans should kick them out of their cities. Viet Harlan uses the characters of Joseph Oppenheimer and Levy to perpetuate the stereotype that all Jews are greedy money grubbers and will contaminate innocent German women and with it, the race. The character of Oppenheimer is used to show German audiences the injustices that will occur when a Jew runs the government. This is most clearly displayed when Joseph cuts the blacksmith’s house in half because it rests on part of the road. The message is evident: Jews should not be allowed to be a part of German society; they will only bring about its ruin.
The key element of Jud Suß is the opposing characters of Councilman Sturm and Joseph Oppenheimer. This film clearly makes Councilman Sturm the hero and villainizes Oppenheimer. This hero versus villain trope is the central way that this movie acts as a fairytale. Sturm is the ideal German: strong, wise, and powerful. Sturm doesn’t ever sway from his conviction that Oppenheimer is a rotten Jew, even when that lands him in …show more content…
The villain in this film, Joseph Oppenheimer, is the embodiment of German stereotypes about Jews. Joseph is a shrewd money-lending Jew who forgets his religious and racial roots and tries unsuccessfully to be a German. Joseph is lecherous- he parades women in front of the Duke to seduce and he himself rapes Dorothea. Oppenheimer’s greed-driven actions lead the duchy to ruin and cause the citizens to revolt against the Duke, leading to the death of the Duke.
There is a scene between Oppenheimer and Rabbi Löw where the Rabbi criticizes his rejection of his religious and racial identity. This scene tells the audience that Jews are not meant to exist in German society, because their heritage and racial status make them incapable of benefiting German society. It also tells any Jew who might have seen this film that there is no hope for them, they can never rise the ranks and become successful like Germans.
Propaganda and fairytales can intermingle and become one. So much of what a culture values are displayed in its fairytales. Jud Süß is the perfect example of propaganda and fairytales combining. Jud Süß acted like at fairytale for its audience in 1940 because it exalts German gender ideals for society, it has a distinct moral, and it has an opposing hero and villain. Hopefully the ethics of this movie are no longer modeled by anyone in our modern