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December 06, 2002 - Image 93

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

- • Homemade Soups
& Salads

Funny Business?

• Coney Specials

• Greek Specialties
• Omelettes

Comedy about Nazis airs in Germany.

In a scene reminiscent of Charlie
Chaplin's The Great Dictator, the real
Goebbels confronts his double and
movie billed as Germany's
launches into an exaggerated speech
first homegrown Nazi com- about the threat of "die juden."
edy recently premiered in
Comic moments outweigh tragedy
that country on television
in the film. The Nazis appear nearly as
amid doubts that Germans are ready
ridiculous as in the American TV
to laugh at their past.
series Hogan's Heroes, which was also
"I heard about a
successful in
questionnaire that said
Germany.
70 percent of Germans
In contrast, the
feel they must not
Jewish characters
laugh about the
appear more round-
Nazis," Peter
ed: comic, tragic and
Steinbach, who wrote
always sympathetic.
Goebbels and Geduldig;
The aim seems to
told JTA before the
be to make people
late November broad-
laugh at the Nazis
cast. "That was very
and sympathize with
shocking. ”
their victims, with-
The 64-year-old
out being depressing.
screenwriter, known
It is high time,
for his 1998 adapta-
said Steinbach, that
tion of the wartime
Germany should be
diaries of Victor
jolted into looking
Klemperer, said
at its past anew.
humor about Nazism
"I am tired of the
"would be no prob-
political correctness
lem in America, in
in this land," he told
England — even in
JTA. "People don't
France or Italy."
want to hear about"
But "in Germany,"
Nazism. "They are
he added, "I am not
fed up. In my opin-
sure if we are ready."
ion, you have to tell
The film aired
it in another way."
nationally during
Steinbach's view
A scene from "Goebbels and
primetime on the
reflects
a common
Geduldig"
respected ARD TV
complaint in
channel. The conser-
Germany that
vative daily Die Welt newspaper said the
Germans are forced to accept contin-
comedy may deserve plaudits for trying
ued collective guilt for the Holocaust.
to break new ground, but that it failed
"Many younger people say they are
for a simple reason:
tired of the whole, sad story," said film
It isn't funny.
editor Bettina Riklifs, who is in her mid-
Not everyone echoes that criticism,
30s. "We wanted to use humor to try to
though. Goebbels and Geduldigwon a
reach people and hold their interest."
bronze medal for best screenplay and
But is that appropriate? Sometimes it
silver for best director at the 2001
works, but not in Germany, said film
New York Film Festival.
critic Jessica Jacoby, who reviewed
The doppelganger tale involves
Goebbels and Geduldig for the German
Harry Geduldig, a Jewish man who is
Jewish newspaper the Judische Alkemeine.
the spitting image of Nazi Minister of
Unlike Roberto Begnini's 1999
Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (actor
Academy Award-winning film Life Is
Ulrich Muhe plays both roles).
Beautifuh which used humor "to tran-
Geduldig is imprisoned and --- in
scend, not to deny, a horrible reality,"
some hilarious scenes — forced to
Steinbach's film, with its "dumb and
practice acting and sounding like the
harmless Nazis" and a Jewish hero
bombastic Goebbels, all part of
who has to become a Nazi to rescue
Heinrich Himmler's plan to do away
his love, "is not funny, just tasteless,"
with the real propaganda minister.
Jacoby wrote.

• Daily Lunch
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TO BY AXELRO D
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

A

The doppelganger
tale involves Harry
Geduldig, a Jewish
man who is the
spitting image
of Nazi Minister
of Propaganda
Joseph Goebbels.

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