Many of the propaganda films produced by the Nazis have never been shown in the U.S. or Europe over fears that they may incite hatred, particularly against Jews. But a new documentary (Forbidden Fruit: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film), which opens today in N.Y., takes excerpts from the forty films that had been considered too offensive to show publicly and compiles them into one film. The director, Felix Moeller, is unsure about the consequences of the film. He wonders, “Are they nothing but historical documents at this point or still effective ideological messages?”
I think this documentary will be of interest to many, but rather than hatred, I hope this documentary prompts us to reflect on our own susceptibility as human beings to hate other who are different from us. It’s easy to criticize the Germans for being duped by Nazi propaganda, but must remember that we have the same vulnerabilities and that we could just as easily be duped. The same human dynamics that played out in Nazi Germany continue to fuel hatred and violence all across the globe. If we are to learn anything from this period of history, we should be skeptical of claims that inspire us to hate others. We should be wary of negative stereotypes and dubious claims that vilify others. If some one or some group asks us to hate, we should say “no”!
Read Bruce Chadwick’s review of the film here: