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We had one Jewish family in Chipman, the small town I grew up in from 7 to 11 in New Brunswick in the 1950s/60s.

I always saw them as lonely. Never met them. Of course, I was a kid. No reason to.

My mother was Church of England from a dirt poor family (her father had been a blacksmith, a good trade until the car killed it).

My dad was the blacksnake of an Irish Roman Catholic family. A marriage between those two faiths at that time was viewed as worse than one between folks of different skin shades. I refuse to use the word ‘race’ as it is a fiction. We are all one blood.

My point is that religious bigotry and hate is something I am familiar with deeply.

Glad to be, too, as, otherwise I might be one of the jerks.

THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS (Die Stadt ohne Juden)

Directed by H. K. Breslauer, 1924
Cast Eugen Neufeld, Hans Moser, Anny Miletty, Johannes Riemann, Ferdinand Mayerhofer, Mizi Griebl, Karl Tema, Hans Effenberger, Gisela Werbisek, and Armin Berg
Composers Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals / Olga Neuwirth

Based on the controversial and best-selling novel by Hugo Bettauer, H.K. Breslauer’s 1924 film adaptation of The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden) was produced two years after the publication of the book, and, tragically, only a brief time before the satirical events depicted in the fictional story transformed an all-too-horrific reality.

Set in the Austrian city of Utopia (a thinly-disguised stand-in for Vienna), the story follows the political and personal consequences of an anti-Semitic law passed by the National Assembly forcing all Jews to leave the country. At first, the decision is met with celebration, yet when the citizens of Utopia eventually come to terms with the loss of the Jewish population—and the resulting economic and cultural decline—the National Assembly must decide whether or not to invite the Jews back. Though darkly comedic in tone, and stylistically influenced by German Expressionism, the film nonetheless contains ominous and eerily realistic sequences, such as the shots of freight trains transporting Jews out of the city.

The stinging critique of Nazism in the film is part of the reason it no longer screened in public after 1933 (all complete prints were thought to be destroyed). Now, thanks to the discovery of a nitrate print in a Parisian flea market in 2015, as well as to the brilliant restoration efforts of the Filmarchiv Austria, this previously “lost” film can once again be appreciated in its unfortunately ever-relevant entirety.

This restored edition of The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden) features a newly-commissioned score by Austrian Jewish composer Olga Neuwirth.

NOTES ON THE SCORE:

The DCP edition of this film features an ensemble score by Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals, who also may be available to perform their score live upon request. If you are interested in possibly having Donald and Alicia perform live at your venue, please do let us know in the ‘Additional Comments’ section of the screening request form.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions of this film feature an option of two scores: an ensemble score by Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals, and an orchestral score by Austrian Jewish composer Olga Neuwirth.

THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS (1924) is a funny film about a topic that isn’t funny. We’re lucky to have it. No one knew that the subject of their light comedy in the reel world would become a dark tragedy in the real world in just a few years. The picture quality is remarkable. The restoration is first rate. If you’d like to see it give me a call and drop by. Be fun to share it with you.

On the disk is another film that t ain’t funny at all, VICTIMS OF HATRED (1923).  The acting in silent films is about the eyes. It’s a lost art as when sound came in theater acting replaced the marvellous and magnetic acting of the screen before it talked. Hatred is something I’m familiar with as well. I get a daily diet of it (not making this up). I don’t want to say too much but this film IS a heart-breaker which is good as it was meant to raise funds. Picture quality is first rate. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRODGhzwVPKke1GpaBe8z4Q .

It’s be nice if we could put hate behind us. THE FIRST TEMPLE was destroyed for idolatry, immorality and murder. The second for hatred without just cause to illustrate, we are told, hatred without just cause is greater than the three great sins of idolatry, amorality and murder.

There is not just cause for hatred. As the Second Temple went up in flames our world will.

Thanks to the Nazis millions of people went up in flames. Beware those who think themselves right. They never are but that does not stop them.

The idea of mercy before sacrifice is plain silly to them.

Get this great Blu-ray/dvd set.

This is a film that Nazis almost destroyed. Watching it is an act of resistance.

I’ve never understood Christians who hate Jews. The Bible teaches us to honor our father and mother. The Father of Christianity is God. The mother is Judaism (through Mary). Many who say they are Christians have been and are dishonoring our mother. Been doing it for a long time now.

Time to stop.

A big thank you to Flicker Alley.–Reg Hartt

Flicker Alley to release new restoration of ‘The City Without Jews’ in a World Premiere Dual-Format Edition!

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