The government ordered the newspaper presses to print more money in ever higher denominations. Workers got paid at noon and ran out to spend it before it became worthless. Though I had nothing left, I never went hungry – I was Steffen’s friend, and Steffen knew people with dollars.
Against the Un-German Spirit: Book-Burning Ceremony in Berlin (May 10, 1933) The Nazi “coordination” [Gleichschaltung] of German culture and literature began soon after Hitler became chancellor. Art was to be rid of all “un-German” elements and used as an instrument in the ideological and racial awakening of the national community [Volksgemeinschaft]. In May and June of 1933, in the context of its operation “Against the Un-German Spirit,” the National Socialist German Students’ League (NSDStB) organized a nationwide “purification campaign” directed at public and private libraries. “Un-German” writings by a range of authors, such as Karl Marx, Heinrich and Klaus Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Sigmund Freud, Carl von Ossietzky and Kurt Tucholsky were subsequently burned in bonfires in a number of university cities. The largest of these events took place on May 10, 1933, on Berlin’s Opera Square [Opernplatz], where approximately 20,000 books were consigned to the flames. Within the framework of its “purification campaign,” the NSDStB also drew up a long “blacklist” of writers, books, and other sorts of publications and banned them from that point on.
In 1937 the Nazi government intensified its activities with regard to the covert nationalization of the film industry. The goal was secretly to buy up shares of the companies in question and become controlling partners without claiming a seat on the supervisory or executive board. In the course of this policy, Hugenberg was “bought out” of Ufa, while Klitzsch remained president and later became chair of the supervisory board. Finally, by merging the four largest production companies - Ufa, Terra, Tobis, and Bavaria - the Nazis established a state-controlled super-enterprise: the Ufa Film GmbH, known as UFI.The companies merged under UFI were intentionally left with a certain degree of autonomy, but there was hardly any way for them to develop profiles of their own. All the companies produced anti-Semitic, militaristic, and hate films. At Ufa, director Karl Ritter excelled at filming Nazi material non-stop, films like ”Verräter” (The Traitor, 1936), ”Patrioten” (Patriots, 1937), ”Über alles in der Welt” (Above All in the World, 1940/41), and ”Stukas” (1941). But even after World War Two began in 1939, these blatant propaganda films did not predominate. The cinemas showed mainly comedies, melodramas, and revue films featuring stars like Marika Rökk in ”Tanz mit dem Kaiser” (Dance with the Kaiser).
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews that Reinhard Heydrich had been appointed as the chief executor of the “Final solution to the Jewish question”. In the course of the meeting, Heydrich presented a plan, presumably approved by Adolf Hitler, for the deportation of the Jewish population of Europe and French North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) to German-occupied areas in eastern Europe, and the use of the Jews fit for labour on road-building projects, in the course of which they would eventually die according to the text of the Wannsee Protocol, the surviving remnant to be annihilated after completion of the projects.
Titanic (1943) was the most expensive German production up until that time and endured many production difficulties, including a clash of egos, massive creative differences and general war-time frustrations. All of this resulted in Joseph Goebbels arresting the film’s director, Herbert Selpin, for treason and ordering him to be hanged in his cell the very next day. The unfinished film, the production of which spiraled wildly out control, was in the end completed by Werner Klingler.
Morgenrot (Dawn) is a 1933 German submarine film set during World War I. Released three days after Adolf Hitler became Reichskanzler, it was the first film to have its screening in Nazi Germany. It became a symbol of the new times touted by the Nazi regime. The title is the German term for the reddish coloring of the east sky about a half hour before the sunrise. Directed by Gustav Ucicky.