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Jud Süß (1940) - Plot Summary Poster

(1940)

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Summaries

  • Infamous anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda historical drama about Duke Karl Alexander of Württemberg and his treasurer Süß Oppenheimer.

  • In this notorious Nazi propaganda historical costume melodrama, a conniving, ambitious Jewish businessman, Süß Oppenheimer, snares a post as treasurer to the Duke of Wurttemburg by showering the corrupt duke with treasure and promises of even greater riches. As the Jew's schemes grow more elaborate and his actions more brazen, the dukedom nearly erupts into civil war. Persuaded by the Jew, the Duke all but scuttles the constitution and alienates the assembly by lifting the local ban on Jews in Stuttgart. In a final outrage, the Jew rapes a wholesome German girl and tortures her father and fiancée. When the Duke succumbs to a sudden heart attack, the assembly of Elders try the Jew and sentence him to death for having "carnal knowledge of a Christian woman".

  • Conceived by Joseph Goebbels after the success of the British film, Jew Süss (1934), Veit Harlan's anti-Semitic magnum opus portrays quasi-historical events, as the Grand Duke, Karl Alexander, takes an oath to obey the constitution and the Swabian people of the peaceful Christian Duchy of Württemberg. However, shortly after his coronation, the Duke accepts the help of the astute court Jew, Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, allowing him, unknowingly, to worm his way into an enviable position of authority as the palace's chief financial adviser. Little by little--as the cynical opportunist sows the seeds of fear through an elaborate system of customs duties, bridge tolls, and heavy taxes--the once-untroubled land is plunged into recession, despair, and, ultimately, rebellion. Is there a limit on the corrupt arriviste's rapacious ambition?


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