The Jud Süß "Crimes against Humanity" 1949
trial of Director Veit Harlan – Special Section
The Collection holds seven original Jud Süß film posters and one Italian "Fotobusta," as well as other film ephemera about the film. Although we do not have an original German poster as designed by Rehak in our Collection, we have a 'sister' poster from Belgium which follows the Rehak closely, as well as two French posters, two Italian posters, an Italian colour "Fotobusta", a Böhmen & Mähren poster with both German and Czech text, and the super–rare re–release poster from 1941 Hungary. We also have sixty B&W original film stills for the film, 2 full–colour rare light box film sheets (A4 sized) for cinema lobby display, and the French original press book for the film. In 2017 we won at auction in Munich the personal annotated copy of the first edition of the film script owned by great actor Werner Krauss. His hand–written annotations are of additional dialogue added during the production of the film for one of his characters, Councilor Levy. The final version of the film script contains these lines of dialogue. Most of these items can be found elsewhere on this website, under FILM STILLS, POSTER GALLERY, etc.
At the end of WWII, German film directors were being considered by the Allies and Soviet Union to be prosecuted for "crimes against humanity" and/or "war crimes" for making propaganda motion pictures for the Third Reich. As the charge of "war crimes" was invented ex post facto as a method to prosecute and execute Nazi leaders at Nürnberg, it also led to the first–ever charges against a film director since the invention of the art form. Harlan was duly charged and he had to endure two trials -- after he was found not guilty at the first one in 1949, the powers-that-be attempted to convict him a second time, but once again failed. Our Karl Ritter archives hold the Soviet Communist Party newspaper of 8 Septmber 1945 (Deutsche Volkszeitung, Berlin) demanding that the Americans try Ritter for war crimes, as the director was in a US prison at the time. Similarly, an American OSS secret report issued that same month cited the anti–Polish film Heimkehr and recommended that its Director (Gustav Ucicky) and its script-writer, Gerhard Menzel, both be charged with war crimes. The Americans thus showing that they were just as vicious and vengeful as the Soviets. Luckily only Veit Harlan was ever charged with such "crimes" and after his two trials ended in failure, no other German film directors and senior film producers were tried, except those held in Soviet gulags such as H.H. Zerlett, Gustav Rathje -Producer of Ritter's GPU, who both died in custody.
There are 3 original German Press Agency press photos in our Collection which cover his 1949 Hamburg trial. One is of him in the courtroom on the first day of the trial; another is that showing him riding on the shoulders of well-wishers outside the courtroom after he was found Not Guilty. Both of these photos are been reproduced fairly frequently in Harlan books and articles. The third photo we have is the one shown below, which is less often published. It shows Harlan amongst the audience in the Hamburg Esplanade cinema on the third day of his trial. The court ordered the screening of both Harlan's Jud Süß film as well as Hippler's Der ewige Jude, to compare and contrast the two anti–semitic films. The prosecution argued that Harlan's film was evil and a direct signpost and contributor to 'crimes against Humanity' just as Hippler's film was. (We can only conclude that the Harlan film would have been seen as far less virulent and anti-semitic than the Hippler film; and that this screening of both films undoubtedly played a role in Harlan's acquittal six weeks later.) Harlan's chief defence counsel, Dr. Otto Zippel, is to the left of Harlan in the photo, taking his seat with a smile.
In addition, we have 35 original complete newspaper clippings from Germany published in 1949 covering the trial in Hamburg in which Veit Harlan was accused of a "crime against humanity" for helping script and then directing the notorious film Jud Süß in 1940. The film was seen by over twenty million Germans as well as millions of foreigners in both Occupied and neutral countries in 1940/1941, and reprised again before war's end.
The articles' headers are shown below along with a few few–sized article clippings.
We also own one of the only surviving original 21 page typed statements Harlan wrote in the dying days of the war, entitled "Where I stood on National Socialism." The document explains, in his own words, the background to and filming of Jud Süß as well as the other propaganda films Harlan directed. Our original is signed by Harlan on the final page and dated by him on the first page. It has been translated and is for sale from International Historic Films in Chicago, IL. USA here.