Movie Review: “A Film Unfinished” (+)
August 23, 2010
An unfinished Nazi propaganda movie titled “Das Ghetto” was filmed in theWarsaw Ghetto in 1942. The movie was found among otherNazi propaganda pictures in East Germany, but a soundtrack was never located.
“A Film Unfinished,” is a documentary about that propaganda movie. It was created and directed by a young Israeli woman, Yael Hersonski.
Ms. Hersonski was at the Film Forum where I saw the picture. When the movie ended, she talked about her work and took questions from the audience. She said the film, which was inexplicably never shown by the Nazis, was probably made to be shown to German children long after World War II had ended, Hitler had won, and the Jews were no longer alive. The intent was to increase German disgust of the Jews and reinforce German pride in having destroyed the Jewish people.
In a Nazi created scene, the propaganda film opens with rich, well-dressed Jews in the Ghetto arriving at a cabaret in the Ghetto to dance the night away. They step over starving Jews in rags and some corpses on the sidewalk, showing their indifference to the suffering of their own.
Another fabricated scene involves Jewish men and women, undoubtedly rounded up at gunpoint, required to strip and enter a ritual bath: the women were forced to parade naked in the presence of what the Nazis hoped would be viewed as bestial male Jews.
Many of the non-fabricated scenes from the Ghetto – dead bodies, starving children, the bridge over a major highway connecting two wings of the Ghetto, have been shown in other films. The propaganda film is one of the few sources of actual life in the Ghetto.
As a Jew, I sat in the darkened theater and wept for my fellow Jews so demeaned, starved, beaten and ultimately killed – six million of them, 1 ½ million were children.
In Europe today, anti-Semitism is rising again. The new Prime Minister of Great Britain,David Cameron, and his deputy, Nick Clegg, are hostile to the State of Israel. France, with its rising Muslim population, has become a dangerous place in some areas for Jewish children wearing skull caps. Spain, with its rising Muslim population, is hostile to Israel. Many nations today hide their ever-increasing anti-Semitism by directing their hostilities at Israel instead of at Jews, criticizing Israel for actions it takes for which they would not criticize other countries.
The Nazis didn’t intend to have their propaganda film generate support for Jews and the Jewish nation, but it will have that affect on those seeing it. They also didn’t intend to lose the war. Do go see it.
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The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served New York City as its 105th Mayor from 1978 to 1989.