Nazi Propaganda and Film : Germanin
Germanin is a propaganda film from 1942 directed by Max Kimmich, Goebbels’s brother in law, portraying Germany as savior of the African colonies which were rightfully theirs. The film centers on the mysterious “Sleeping Sickness” that has developed in the African colonies, crippling and killing off the native population, and the Germany’s path to curing it. Germanin is set to occur after the signing of the Versailles Treaty but before the start of the second World War. Similarly to Jud Suss, Germanin portrays itself as a historically accurate film, and in some aspects it actually is. The film is presented almost as a documentary, which ensures a deeper absorption of Anti- British and Anti –Semitic sentiments in the viewer. To give the film an authentic feeling Kimmich uses footage of actual dying Africans, and migrant workers provided by the Italian government. There are many theories as to where the footage actually originated, but regardless is a powerful tool. The film claims that it is Germany’s need and requirement to ensure the health of the African nation out of selflessness. In actuality Germany had stock in keeping their African nations healthy because of the slave trade. In the film Professor Achenbach is portrayed almost as a Jesus figure, further asserting the Germans or Aryans as the superior race. Professor Achenbach discovers the cure for the “Sleeping Sickness” and is so selfless he travels into the colonies and even shares the last vial with his enemies. Where on contrast the “evil” British and their American drug only causes blindness and doesn’t even cure the syndrome. I personally think this is an interesting piece of Propaganda. Also, the film can be found in its entirety online.
Friedrichsmeyer, Sara, Sara Lennox, and Susanne Zantop. The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and Its Legacy. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 1998. Online.