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The Eternal Jew (1940)

Der ewige Jude (original title)
Under the guise of a brutally honest documentary, this malevolent propaganda film aims to be an "indispensable tool in the hands of the Aryan race", designed to depict the "true" Jew when the masks of western civilisation fall off.


Fritz Hippler




Credited cast:
Curt Bois ... Self (archive footage)
Charles Chaplin ... Self (1931) (archive footage)
Albert Einstein ... Einstein (archive footage)
Adolf Hitler ... Self - Speaking at Reichstagssitzung (archive footage)
Fritz Kortner ... Dimitri Karamasoff (archive footage)
Peter Lorre ... Hans Beckert (archive footage)
Ernst Lubitsch ... Self (archive footage)
Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg ... Self (archive footage)
Mona Maris ... Self (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Léon Blum Léon Blum ... Self (archive footage)
Kurt Gerron ... (archive footage)
Leslie Hore-Belisha Leslie Hore-Belisha ... Self (archive footage)
Emil Ludwig Emil Ludwig ... Self (archive footage)
Richard Oswald ... Self (archive footage)
Walther Rathenau Walther Rathenau ... Self (archive footage)


The Jews of Poland (invaded by Germany in 1939) are depicted as filthy, evil, corrupt, and intent on world domination. Street scenes are shown prejudicially, along with clips from Jewish cinema of the day and photos of Jewish celebrities, while the narrator "explains" the Jewish problem. The climax and resolution of the film is Hitler's 1939 announcement that the Jewish race will meet its "annihilation" (Vernichtung). Written by Jamie McCarthy <jamie@mccarthy.org>

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Did You Know?


The scene at the end of M (1931) in which Peter Lorre, as a child murderer, is judged by a jury of other criminals was added to this film because Lorre is Jewish and Adolf Hitler felt that this "proved" the criminal mind of the Jew. See more »


This film states that Charlie Chaplin was a Jew. In reality, he was raised Anglican and later professed to be Agnostic. When asked if he was Jewish, he reportedly said, "I do not have such an honor". See more »


Narrator: For the Jew there's but one value: money. How he gets it makes no difference.
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Featured in The World at War (1973) See more »


Toccata und Fuge in D-Moll
BWV 565
by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

It's almost too easy to hate this film; ironically its survival into modern times serves by preserving scenes of Jewish culture its filmmakers were seeking to destroy.
26 March 2000 | by Bob A-2See all my reviews

The Eternal Jew (Der Ewige Jude) does not have what we today would call the markings of a scholarly document: rather than naming experts or sources to support what it says, it simply says, without opposition, what it wants us to believe (one will concede that American newsreels of that period were also much less regulated than would seem ethical to a modern audience, often inserting dramatized scenes and passing them off as actual news footage). Add to this directed propaganda the fact that filmmaker Hippler was "preaching to the converted," not so much asking gentile Europeans to hate the Jews as validating the feelings so many of them must have held already, in order to have allowed the holocaust that followed. The weakest link in the film's logic shows in its "rat" analogy, wherein it goes on to explain the behavior of rats, and then adds something to the effect of "Well, Jewish people are like that too." Similarly it characterizes Jewish people as ugly by showing ugly Jewish people in comparison to attractive gentiles; the accompanying leap of faith is that ugly is bad. The film appears to contradict itself a few times, for example by attacking Western painters who portrayed Old Testament characters as light-skinned Europeans; thereby the text admits that so-called "Hebrew" ethnicity is in fact an ingrained aspect of Christian culture. It also shows ghetto Jews willingly living in roach-infested filth, despite the supposed treasure they've hoarded, and then flip-flops by saying that these same undesirables live in wealth and luxury as soon as they leave the ghetto. Incidentally, who wouldn't? The use of scenes from a well-known American film, House of Rothschild, shows an equally blurry deployment of logic. First the film is denounced as having been made by Jews; then it is apparently used by Hippler to verify the deceptiveness of Jews (the aforementioned pretense of poverty by ghetto Jews, shown as a means of avoiding taxation, although the Rothschild character's "spin" is that Jews are taxed excessively); finally the Rothschild film is once again execrated for implying that the famed banking family invented the checking account. This apparent indecisiveness in whether the American footage is shown positively or negatively might become clearer with repeated viewings, but at first sight it makes for some murky moviewatching. For all of Eternal Jew's imperfections, I was at first surprised that the IMDb viewer rating for this film is as high as it is, just shy of a "5" to date. I'd say the reason is that EJ's documentary value has exceeded its original purpose, offering us, unintentionally, a look into the lives of European Jews as they would not be seen a few years hence. Needless to say the film's very badness also provides an historical insight into bad, or simply evil, filmmaking as a propagandist's tool. About this time I should expect director Hippler to flip-flop once again, springing forward to say "That's what I meant to do all along!" The scenes depicting animal slaughter are particularly gruesome, and show same as decidedly inhumane, contrary to the intent of Kosher law to prevent animal suffering. I would like for someone who has seen the film, and has some knowledge of these procedures, to comment on whether the portrayal is accurate.

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Release Date:

28 November 1940 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Az örök zsidó See more »

Filming Locations:

Lódz, Lódzkie, Poland See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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