Honored Guest’s Dark Family Past

By Nathan Burstein

Published May 26, 2010, issue of June 04, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

For the second time in less than two years, a descendant of Germany’s Nazi elite will be a guest of honor at a film festival in Israel.

Filmmaker: Jan Harlan will be on the jury of the upcom- ing student film festival at Tel Aviv University.
TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Filmmaker: Jan Harlan will be on the jury of the upcom- ing student film festival at Tel Aviv University.

Jan Harlan, nephew of German director Veit Harlan, has announced plans to head the jury at Tel Aviv University’s International Student Film Festival, scheduled from June 5 to June 12 on the university campus. A producer of such films as “The Shining” and “Full Metal Jacket,” the younger Harlan will also teach a master class on “music as a dramatic element in film,” according to Nir Ferber, one of the festival’s student organizers.

The producer’s appearance at the festival marks his first trip to Israel, Ferber said, and is not likely to focus on the history of the Harlan family — including “Jew Suss,” the infamous 1940 drama directed by the filmmaker’s uncle. Lauded by Joseph Goebbels as a triumph of Nazi cinema, the film tells the story of a diabolical Jewish businessman who is put to death after stealing from Aryans and raping one of their women. Required viewing for members of the SS, the film was seen by tens of millions of moviegoers across Nazi-occupied Europe, and was twice used as evidence in unsuccessful prosecutions of Harlan as a war criminal.

Like his uncle, Jan Harlan has worked primarily behind the scenes throughout his decades-long career. But he appeared on camera in 2008 for “Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Suss,” a German documentary about his notorious uncle and family. The documentary notes the marriage between Jan Harlan’s sister, Christiane, and the Jewish director Stanley Kubrick, with whom Harlan collaborated on five films.

Harlan received his invitation to Tel Aviv in January, Ferber said, when Israeli film students at the Berlin International Film Festival approached him. Despite the German moviemaker’s openness about his family history, the topic is unlikely to play a major role in his visit, Tel Aviv planners predict.

“I don’t think it’s really relevant,” Ferber said. “The important thing is that it’s someone who has done so much in the film industry. It’s a student film festival, and having him is a huge honor.”

Harlan’s trip to Israel follows a visit by Bettina Goering, grandniece of Nazi air force chief Hermann Goering. Born after the war and now a resident of New Mexico, Goering traveled to Ashkelon in October 2008 for the Jewish Eye — World Jewish Film Festival, where she attended a screening of “Bloodlines,” a documentary about her struggle with her family’s past.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.