German Studies Lecture Series Presents "The Postwar Antisemite on Screen: Der Prozeß (The Trial) (1948) and The Third Man (1949) " featured lecture by Lisa Silverman (Professor of History and Jewish Studies -University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 260, Stanford, CA 94305
Dr. Lisa Silverman (Professor of History and Jewish Studies -University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) investigates the presence and consequences of continued antisemitism after post-World War II by juxtaposing two films made in Vienna at roughly the same time: Der Prozeß (1948), a film about antisemitism that takes place in a 19th-century village over 300 miles away and features only innocent rural Jews and diabolical antisemites, and The Third Man (1949), which features an urban tale of the black market and poisoned children set in post-1945 Vienna that does not mention either Jews or the reasons for their absence. This comparison suggests the simultaneous repression and evocation of a figural Antisemite in postwar culture that developed in Austria and Germany as a way to come to terms with the Holocaust and to shape new national self-understandings. As a readily recognizable and easily adaptable figure of evil, the Antisemite loomed large as a powerful and persistent trope in a wide range of artistic and cultural narratives, allowing audiences to avoid facing the implications of crimes committed by the Nazis and to deny widespread, systemic prejudices. Set in motion in Central Europe immediately after the end of the Second World War, the damaging effects of the figural Antisemite spread far beyond Europe’s borders and continue to this day.
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