ITHACA, NY — The Jewish studies program at Ithaca College is sponsoring a film screening and a lecture on the subject of Nazi propaganda and life in the Warsaw Ghetto. The documentary “A Film Unfinished” will be shown on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in Textor 101. Holocaust researcher Bradley Prager will present “Signs of Life: Depicting the Warsaw Ghetto in ‘A Film Unfinished’” on Monday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Textor 102. Both events are free and open to the public.
After the end of World War II, 60 minutes of raw film was discovered in an East German archive. It had been shot by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto two months before the mass extermination of its inhabitants in the Treblinka death camp. The footage became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the ghetto, and it was used in many subsequent documentaries. In 1998, however, another reel of footage from the film was found that shows how scenes were staged to falsely show “the good life” enjoyed by Jewish urbanites.
Directed by Yael Hersonski and released in 2010, “A Film Unfinished” probes deep into the making of this propaganda, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light.
Prager’s talk will explore the specific cinematic techniques used by Hersonski in separating the Nazis’ propaganda images from their ideological and anti-Semitic origins, and will raise questions about using Holocaust images in an unquestioning way. An associate professor of German and member of the program in film studies at the University of Missouri, he is the coeditor of the book “Visualizing the Holocaust: Documents, Aesthetics, Memory.”
His presentation is part of the annual Distinguished Lecture on the Holocaust series at the college and is supported by the Golberstein Jewish Studies Program Fund. For more information, contact Rebecca Lesses, coordinator of the Jewish studies program, at (607) 274-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.