Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Jew Suss was a well-worn stage drama based on an old novel by Lionel Feuchtwanger. The story involves an enterprising Jewish businessman (Conrad Veidt) who gains power and influence in the European community of Wurttemburg. He does this to help his people, who have suffered persecution under the Gentile burgomeisters. To his horror, Suss discovers that he is actually not Jewish at all. The question: Was his own suffering on behalf of the community's genuine Jews worth it, and will he continue to act in their best interest? Filmed as a protest against the rising tide of Anti-Semitism in Germany, Jew Suss (released in the U.S. as Power) was far from subtle, but its heart was in the right place. There would be a reprehensible 1940 German remake of Jew Suss, this time filmed under the aegis of Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, wherein the story was perverted into an anti-Jewish tract and Suss was portrayed as a drooling rapist!
anti-Semitism, businessperson, Jewish, power