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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Third Reich’

Hollywood Collaborated With the Nazi Regime

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

The Hollywood film industry maintained close ties with the Third Reich and collaborated with the regime,  according to a new book written by Harvard University doctoral student Ben Urwand. He charges that Hollywood’s major studios not only passively accepted Nazi censorship, but also further actively collaborated with Hitler’s propaganda machine to protect their interests in the German market.

In the book “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler,” Urwand, whose maternal grandfather and grandmother were Jews who hid in Hungary during the Holocaust, reveals documents that have never before been made public.

The book offers evidence that heads of large Hollywood studios, some of them Jews, edited films, scene by scene, at the request of senior Nazi officials. The results were films that could easily have been used as Nazi propaganda. One document even suggests that Hollywood sent money to Germany to produce munitions.

“Hollywood [in the 1930s] is not just collaborating with Nazi Germany, it’s also collaborating with Adolf Hitler, the person and human being,” Urwand told The New York Times.

The fact that the Nazi regime intervened in the Hollywood’s film industry is known and documented, but Urwand suggests that the relationship between Hollywood and the Third Reich was much deeper and long-lasting than previously known, that this warm relationship continued until the beginning of the 1940′s.

According to Urwand, collaboration with the Nazis began in 1930, when Carl Laemmle, a Jew who headed Universal Studios, agreed to far-reaching changes in “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930) after Nazis who watched the movie rioted.

Later on, in January 1938, the German offices of Fox studios sent a letter with a request to receive Hitler’s opinion about several movies. The letter ends with the salutation “Heil Hitler.” In 1939, MGM studios hosted ten editors of Nazi newspapers on a studio tour.

Urwand says he found a total of nearly 20 films aimed at American audiences in which content was influenced by senior Nazis. The most important point, he says, is that Jewish characters were almost entirely erased from films.

Another discovery included notes by Hitler’s adjutants recording his reactions to the movies he watched each night. He loved Laurel and Hardy but hated “Tarzan.”

‘Nazi Essay’ Teacher Placed on Leave

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

The Albany school district has placed on leave a High School teacher whose persuasive writing assignment was for students to argue that Jews are evil in order to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty, the Albany Times Union reported.

Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said the district is planning to take some disciplinary action against the teacher, saying it could range from a letter of reprimand to termination. She asserted the district would not allow the teacher back in the classroom before the end of the year.

The district will also employ sensitivity trainers from the Anti-Defamation League to work with teachers and students before the end of the school year.

The students were instructed to imagine that their teacher was a Nazi and to construct an argument that Jews were “the source of our problems” using historical propaganda and, of course, a traditional high school essay structure.

The assignment read: “Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion. You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”

One of the three classes given the assignment refused to do it. Perhaps that had been the intent of the entire project, to test how far High School students would go to comply with an authority figure?

At a news conference on Friday with members of the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation of New York, Vanden Wyngaard apologized to the community for the assignment. She said she was shocked at the assignment. “You asked a child to support the notion that the Holocaust was justified, that’s my struggle,” she said. “It’s an illogical leap for a student to make.”

Emily Karandy, 16, told the Times Union she was putting off the assignment, and felt “horrible” when she turned in her essay, “because I didn’t want to think about it and I didn’t want to say anything bad about Jewish people. We thought it would make more sense if we were Jews arguing against Nazis.” Karandy said.

The Times Union first reported on the assignment on Friday. Shelly Shapiro, director of the Jewish Federation of New York, said she was satisfied with the district’s response because administrators are treating the mistake as a learning experience, for teachers and students.

“It’s not how you teach about how prejudice has led to genocide,” she said. “There are ways to do it. This way was not the proper pedagogical way to do it.”

But Reform Rabbi Donald P. Cashman of the B’nai Sholom Congregation, who is the father of three Albany High graduates, empathized with the teacher. “Hypothetical situations are often effective teaching tools,” he told the NY Times, and debating positions one may not believe in can also be valuable.

“We know it’s important for kids to get out of their comfort zones,” Cashman said, noting that the assignment corresponded with Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nazi-essay-teacher-placed-on-leave/2013/04/14/

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