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). This film, 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.

Opfer der Vergangeheit (Victims of the Past, 1937), reworked Erbkrank in a more polished and professional style.

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Published in: on February 3, 2007 at 3:19 am  Comments Off on Propaganda films  
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