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Nazi Film Propagandas
Ohm Krüger ("Uncle Krüger")

A film crew shoots in the Theresienstadt ghetto during the making of a Nazi propaganda film

Directed by:
Karl Anton, Herbert Maisch and Hans Steinhoff


German premiere:
April 4, 1941

"Fantastic excitement... The kind of anti-English film you can only dream of."

-- Joseph Goebbels, in his diary, April 2, 1941

"Divided opinions regarding Ohm Krüger. Some find it too horrific. But that is what must be to work effectively on the public."

-- Joseph Goebbels, in his diary, April 5, 1941

By October 1940, the British had handed the Nazis their first defeat, in the punishing, destructive, three-month-long Battle of Britain. Ohm Krüger was a lavish production, benefiting from the biggest budget of any German film up to that point. Goebbels was so pleased with the film that he created a new award just for it: "Film of the Nation." In addition to its strong anti-British message, the film reinforced the image of a leader as a comforting father figure.

Plot Synopsis
The film celebrates the life of Paulus Krüger, who led the Transvaal province of South Africa in a fight for independence against the British empire at the turn of the 20th century. The film depicts Krüger's son Jan as an Oxford-educated lawyer at odds with his anti-British father -- until a British sergeant attempts to rape Jan's wife, Petra. Jan kills the man, then takes up the anti-British fight of his father. Jan's family is eventually taken to a concentration camp, where he is hanged and his wife is shot. Jan and Petra's final defiant words are, "England be damned!"

The entire film is presented as a story told by the elder "Uncle" Krüger to a nurse while in exile in Switzerland. Krüger tells her, "a day of retribution will come. Great and almighty nations will rise up against British tyranny."

PBS American Experience