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Propaganda films

Hitler’s Germany used film to great effect to reach the masses. As well as feature films, film was used as documentary propaganda. The Racial and Political Office made five films:

• Sünden der Vater (Sins of the Fathers, 1935)
• Abseits vom Wege (Off the Path, 1935)
• Alles Leben ist Kampf (All Life is a Struggle, 1937)
• Was du ererbt (What you have inherited, 1929)
• Erbkrank (Heredity, 1936).

Erbkrank, intended to criminalise, degrade and dehumanise the mentally and physically impaired, was silent and shot in black and white. The victims were manipulated to make them appear horrific, with superimposed captions of the cost of keeping them alive. Using direct interviews with disabled people, cleverly lit and staged, filmed from below and cut to make them appear very different from ordinary workers, it made the audience sympathise with compulsory sterilisation and, later, mercy killing. By Hitler’s order, it was shown in all German cinemas.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
badgerbag
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
thanks for this! I really want to look those up and try to see them - or get them online if they're not online.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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