Saturday, September 21, 2013

First US Anti-Nazi Film Found in Belgian Archive; "Hitler's Reign of Terror" Was Produced in 1933

The first U.S. film to warn about the dangers of Adolf Hitler's regime has been found in a Brussels, Belgium film archive, having lain unnoticed for some 75 years, the Forward (Jewish) website reports today (September 21, 2013).

"Hitler's Reign of Terror" was produced by Cornelius Vanderbilt -- an heir to the wealthy American industrialist family -- who visited Germany as Hitler was voted into power in 1933.

The film revolves around footage that Vanderbilt shot and smuggled out of Germany, showing Nazi party rallies, book-burnings, and the ransacking of Jewish shops.

At its premiere in New York City in 1934, the film was a big success, said Bruno Mestdagh, head of the digital collections at the Belgian film archive Cinematheque. "The German embassy in the United States protested, so the film was censored and adapted. It was then shown in other cities but with much less success," Mestdagh said.

The film has now been remastered and will be shown at New York's Museum of Modern Art in October, 2013.

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