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Jewish Journal

“King’s” view on Jews fact or smear?

by  Tom Tugend

January 30, 2011 | 10:25 pm

Was George VI, protagonist of “The King’s Speech,” a Nazi sympathizer or is someone just trying to trip up the front-running Oscar contender?

That’s the question raised by film critic Jennifer Lipman of the UK’s Jewish Chronicle.

The story has taken a somewhat circuitous route, starting with an anonymous e-mail sent to Hollywood blogger Scott Feinberg, as well as to Academy members and entertainment industry executives.

In his missive, Anonymous accused the “King’s” creators of “glossing over the Nazi-sympathizing past of the tongue-tied monarch.”

Back-up for the charge is drawn from a 2002 article in the London-based Observer probing secret historical documents regarding the king and his attitude toward Jews, as the Nazis tightened the vise.

According to the Observer story, when George VI discovered that “Jewish refugees were surreptitiously getting into Palestine,” the king “was glad to think that steps are being taken to prevent these people from leaving their country of origin.”

Allegedly, George VI also asked his foreign secretary “to encourage the German government to check the unauthorised emigration of Jews.”

Since the “German government,” at this point, was doing everything possible to kick out the country’s Jews, the monarch’s statement, if true, points to a staggering naiveté that, by comparison, makes Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain look like a hard-headed realist.

The anonymous message also highlights a post to the New York Magazine, in which a blogger “feels morally compelled to note that …when it came to actively working to stymie Jews fleeing Hitler’s Germany, George actually communicated quite eloquently.”

However, considering the timing of the story targeting mainly Academy voters, Feinberg raises the justified suspicion that the “revelation” may be part of a “coordinated smear campaign—orchestrated by someone with a vested interest.”

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