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September 17, 2009 - Image 106

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-09-17

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Six Million Stories

Holocaust films keep coming, despite
the prediction of their demise.

Tom Tugend
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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September 17 2009 Pi


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Rabbi Marvin Hier, founding dean
of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and
producer of several Oscar-winning
documentaries on the Holocaust,
insists that films and books about
the Final Solution will never be out
of vogue.
"Why sit through something about
the invasion of aliens from outer
space when the reality was so much
more incredible and frightening?" he

t least once a year over
the last quarter century, a
respected critic will prove
conclusively that films about the
Holocaust and the Nazi era have
reached a saturation point and that
movie and television audiences are
suffering from a terminal case of
Holocaust fatigue.
Ignoring such earnest argu-
ments, Hollywood and other
moviemakers in the United
States and Europe regularly roll
out new slates of films on these
This year is no exception.
Hollywood kicked things off
Aug. 21 with the opening of
Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious
Basterds, featuring Brad Pitt,
in which American Jewish GIs
terrorize the German army and
almost single-handedly wipe
out the Nazi leadership. At least
another five more Holocaust-
related films from around the
world are set to see wider distri-
bution in the coming months.
A similar list could be com-
piled for almost any other
recent year. Going back less than The poster advertising Quentin Tarantino's
Inglourious B asterds
12 months, Hollywood alone
released The Reader, Valkyrie,
Defiance and The Boy in the Striped
Howard Suber, a UCLA profes-
sor considered among the top film
So why the continuing flow, and
teachers and consultants, believes
public acceptance, of films about the that all Holocaust films are varia-
gruesome events of more than 60
tions on "the world's greatest sto-
years ago?
ryline": A character is trapped in
Filmmakers, distributors and
a certain situation — will he have
scholarly experts agree on some
what it takes to get out?
reasons and to a lesser degree on
Considerably touchier is the thesis
that the prominence of Jewish studio
"The Holocaust has 6 million
heads, producers and directors in
compelling stories, and Hollywood
Hollywood and European movie cen-
is always desperate for a good story," ters tilts their professional judgment
said Meyer Gottlieb, president and
toward films on the extermination of
chief operating officer of Samuel
6 million fellow Jews.
Goldwyn Films and a child survi-
According to this theory, the ques-
vor of the Holocaust. "It is only the
tion is: If the founders of Hollywood
media that think the public is tired
and their modern-day descendants
of the subject."
had not been Jews, but instead

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