Thematic Series


This series was presented in collaboration with the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Program, the Deparment of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and the Interdepartmental Film Studies Program at UMass Amherst;  the German Studies Department and George Lurcy Lecture Series Fund at Amherst College; the German Studies Department at Mount Holyoke College; the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center; the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University; Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes New York; ICESTORM International, Inc.; the DEFA-Stiftung; the Filmmuseum Potsdam, PROGRESS Film-Verleih GmbH; and the Bulgarian National Film Center.

Shadows and Sojourners

Images of Jews and Antifascism in East German Film

Premiere 2002
University of Massachusetts Amherst


The film series Shadows and Sojourners: Images of Jews and Antifascism in East German Film was the first North American retrospective of East German films representing the intertwined themes of German/Jewish relations, antifascism, and the Holocaust. Presenting unique views of the Jewish experience and critiques of Nazi Germany seldom seen by U.S. audiences, these classics of the East German antifascist tradition have been hailed by the British Film Institute as "the most consistent and coherent analysis of fascism of any national cinema."


The series includes twelve subtitled films that range in approach from focusing directly on the Jewish experience to exploring German guilt and the role of anti-Nazi resistance. Featured are such acclaimed German directors as Kurt Maetzig ("Marriage in the Shadows," "Council of the Gods"), Wolfgang Staudte ("The Murderers Are among Us," "Rotation"), and Konrad Wolf ("Professor Mamlock," "Sterne"). We were especially pleased to be able to host director Frank Beyer ("Jacob the Liar," "Naked Among Wolves"), whose two-month tour of North America was schedule to overlap with this series.


In addition, the film tour incorporated a curated photo exhibition of stills of the productions culled from the archives of the Filmmuseum Potsdam. These images, never before exhibited in North America, helped yield insight into the breadth of style and approach undertaken by East German directors.

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