The Real Jud Süss

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Pablo Edronkin

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The Nazi propaganda film Jud Süss was loosely based on the real life story of the life of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer; a masterpiece of hatred brainwash anti – Semitic pseudo art.

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.." - Albert Einstein[250].

Joseph Süss Oppenheimer was born within a banking family related to the Skowronek bankers, in the year 1698. He was killed on February 4, 1738. He was well connected since his uncle was a nephew of Samuel Oppenheimer, one of the leading bankers of the day.

He became the court Jew or "faktor" of Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg, and his tenure in his court earned him lots of enemies for different reasons. He developed the financial assets of the Duke very well, created a bank, a porcelain factory and several other businesses.

Jewish bankers attracted a lot of enemies and resentment, since in many occasions they acted on behalf of the Jewish population of their cities and towns; in that role they were known as Shtadlans.

The problem was that Jews were resented in general, but especially if they dedicated themselves to commerce and finance because they were highly competitive, and usually, when a Shtadlan obtained benefits for his people, like in the case of Joseph Süss, anger usually grew among non-Jews.

In such cases, the Jews usually had the protection of the local Lords, or perhaps even kings that made the deal with the Shtadlan. The economic interest of rulers were often aligned with those of the Jews. Leaders liked them because Jews were efficient workers and helped improve local economies, but even if benefits of those policies became visible, non-Jews would still want to get rid of them in one way or another.

Resentment against Joseph Süss Oppenheimer banker grew, and after the death of the Duke, his enemies took advantage of the opportunity and soon made sure that he would fell from grace, conspired against him, had a mock trial, tailor made to "prove" him guilty despite that n evidence of the charges he received was ever produced. The charges included, corruption, treason, indecent relations with court ladies and gambling. Finally, he was executed by hanging, in public.


Joseph Süß Oppenheimer.
Joseph Süß Oppenheimer.
From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, public domain[62].

Later, his corpse was left hanging from a cage for six years until the duke's successor had his body buried.

The awful experience to which he was subjected became the topic of more than one literary work until finally, in 1940 the Nazis made arguably one of their most effective propaganda movies about him in which, of course, he was portrayed as a diabolic, cunning character that well deserved his fate.

In 2010 Oskar Roehler made "Jud Süß – Film ohne Gewissen," a film about the Nazi film was made, describing how it eventually ruined the life of Ferdinand Marian, the actor that played the role of Joseph Süss. The film was made by Veit Harlan under the direct supervision of Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich.

The character played by Marian was superb for the ends of the Nazi regime. Ironically, his first wife had been Jewish, and the former husband of his second wife was a Jew too, whom the couple protected from persecution by hiding him.

Marian died in a car accident in Bayern, in 1946; it has been suggested that it was actually a suicide.


The execution of Joseph Süß Oppenheimer on February 4th, 1738 in front of the Stuttgart city gates.
The execution of Joseph Süß Oppenheimer on February 4th, 1738 in front of the Stuttgart city gates.
From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, public domain[62].



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