The Wandering Jew


1h 25m 1933

Film Details

Also Known As
A Jew in Exile, Der Vanderer Yid, Nazi Terror, The Jew in Germany
Release Date
Oct 20, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Jewish American Film Arts, Inc.
Distribution Company
Jewish American Film Arts, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Long Island, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono, Visatone
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,688ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Arthur Levi, an assimilated Jewish painter living in Berlin, dreams that his deceased father, whom he has used as the prototype for his latest work, "The Eternal Wanderer," responds to his own query of "Whither, father," with the admonition, "To the end of the goal....To eternity." As Levi finishes the painting, his servant, also a Jew, questions whether at the present time, when the country is agitated against the Jews, the Art Academy, where Levi teaches, will accept a painting with a Jewish subject. Levi, however, does not believe that current events have anything to do with art. As Levi leaves to visit his sweetheart Gertrude, who is not Jewish, a street orator rages against the Jews and asserts that Germany must be free of them. Later, as a Jewish reporter interviews Levi, Paul Von Eisenen, who calls himself Levi's friend, expresses to Gertrude both his fear for her future should she marry Levi and his own desire to marry her. Gertrude, however, rebukes Paul. Levi, meanwhile, explains to the reporter that the painting depicts the Jew as the eternal wanderer among nations. Levi's servant notices a determination in the eyes of the subject, and when Levi equates the look with the vengeance of his father's God, Jehovah, the servant retorts that a feeling of mercy, rather than vengeance, inspired the patriarch Abraham to open the eyes of brutal, idol-worshipping nations to Jehovah's mercy. Levi cynically points out that religious nations recently sent their sons to horrible deaths in the world war, but the servant argues that the war was not Jehovah's fault and relates Abraham's efforts to avoid a war between his shepherds and those of Lott. After the reporter leaves, Paul casually remarks that he believes the Jews rule the world through an international secret clan, whereupon Levi berates Paul. After Paul leaves, Levi confesses to Gertrude that she brings him greater happiness than his art. The next day, the committee of the Art Academy rejects the painting and discharges Levi from his professorship. Levi, who says that he has made an effort to cleanse himself of his Jewish background, fumes at this turn of events. Paul warns Gertrude that whoever does not join the upcoming attack against the Jews will be crushed, but she again refuses to listen. Levi goes out to view for himself the burning of Jewish books and works. As a Nazi mob throws stones at his studio, Levi, afraid that they will destroy his painting, raises his knife to it, but the painting speaks to him in the voice of his father and admonishes him that the Jewish spirit must not be destroyed because it belongs to all humanity. The "Wanderer" tells Levi that when people don't want the contributions of the Jews, they must be taught to understand, and he relates that the Jews earlier were threatened with destruction during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Crusades in the Middle Ages, the Spanish Inquisition and the pogroms during the rule of the Russian czars. In the present day, the Wanderer tells Levi, a new order has been established in Russia; Jews are welcome to contribute to the culture of Spain; and in the Holy Land, Jewish cities and villages are blossoming. Gertrude arrives with a warning that Jews are being attacked in the street and that their houses are being burned, and she tells Levi goodbye, saying that although she loves him, she cannot stand up against a whole nation. In despair, Levi asks his father where to go, and the Wanderer predicts that, as in the past, a leader will arise to save the Jews. He relates that Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, and that later, a new Moses, Theodor Herzl, devised a plan for a Jewish Congress in Jerusalem. The Wanderer says that millions of people around the world are protesting against the racial hatred in Germany, and as he proclaims his dream for the Jews to be a nation among nations, Levi, now convinced that the Jewish spirit cannot be destroyed, vows "To eternity!"

Film Details

Also Known As
A Jew in Exile, Der Vanderer Yid, Nazi Terror, The Jew in Germany
Release Date
Oct 20, 1933
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Jewish American Film Arts, Inc.
Distribution Company
Jewish American Film Arts, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Long Island, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono, Visatone
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,688ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The plot summary was based on a dialogue continuity at NYSA and reviews. The Yiddish title is Der Vanderer Yid. According to a Film Daily news item dated June 13, 1933, Herman Ross, who owned a non-theatrical film business, organized a production company called Mammoth Pictures Co. to make this film. Subsequent sources, including NYSA records, call the production company Jewish American Film Arts, Inc. According to Film Daily news items, this was to be the first of a series of films directed by George Roland and starring Jacob Ben-Ami, in Yiddish and English that would deal with current problems of Jewish life in Germany. A Motion Picture Daily news item noted that the company was organized by Ross to produce "Jewish art pictures." According to reviews, the film included footage from newsreels showing scenes from World War I, Nazi storm troops, the burning of Jewish books in Berlin, an anti-Hitler protest meeting in Madison Square Garden, the Soviet Union, Palestine, and from earlier dramatic films depicting past scenes in Jewish history.
       According to NYSA information, after the New York State censors licensed the film on October 13, 1933, they were asked to approve English-language titles, which were to be superimposed on the film. After viewing the film with the new titles on 18 Oct, Irwin Esmond, the director of the censor board's motion picture division, in a memorandum commented, "it was our opinion that the superimposing of these English titles actually changed the situation for the reason that the picture, as originally presented in the Jewish dialogue and titles, contained an appeal merely to the Jewish people to maintain their religious ideals and standards through whatever difficulties, as had been their history in the past. By putting English titles on the picture it became a propaganda picture, being an appeal to the English speaking people in a partisan way, and might create a good deal of friction and trouble, and possibly violence." The censor board reserved the right to revoke the license at any time and to require that eliminations be made in the future.
       According to a Film Daily news item, the film was re-edited "to meet with the objections of religious groups" in October 1934 by Olympic Pictures, which planned to release it. According to NYSA records, in October 1937, the film, in a cut version of 5,710 feet, was retitled A Jew in Exile. The Exhibitor reviewed the film under this title in June 1938. In December 1939, the film's title was changed to Nazi Terror and in January 1941 to The Jew in Germany.