Adolf Hitler wrote with dark clarity about propaganda. Its role, he stated in “Mein Kampf,” is “not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for.”
No film ever embodied his warped charge that Jews violated the rights of the German people more viciously than a 1940 melodrama called “Jew Suss,” directed by Veit Harlan. Harlan employed his skills as one of Germany’s leading filmmakers — and cast his movie-star wife, Kristina Soderbaum — when he made the anti-Semitic tale of an 18th century Jewish court-advisor who assumes despotic powers, kills an Aryan beauty and gets killed by supposedly pure Germans.
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