Abstract: The 1940 Nazi propaganda film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) is infamous for its brutal antisemitism and claims of being a documentary film. Scholarship on the film focuses on its unique construction, its content, and its use as a tool for Nazi ideology, but has not fully addressed the cinematic techniques that accomplish its goals. This article demonstrates through the lens of physiognomic and film theory the manner in which Der ewige Jude emerges as a more complex and sophisticated film than it first appears, employing a shrewd method of racial indoctrination. Finally, this analysis reveals the way that the Third Reich used racist cinema as a response to a distinctly modern paradox: namely, the fact that Nazi Germany's theories of race conflicted empirically with Jewish assimilation and geographical—as well as social—mobility.
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jun 24, 2009