The Shmooze

Eva Braun Blackface Photo Reveals Her Love of Jewish Film

By Nathan Burstein

  • Print
  • Share Share

Hitler’s girlfriend apparently loved a film focused on the struggle to maintain Jewish tradition.

Getty Images

A recently released photo now making the rounds online shows Eva Braun in 1937, in an image the dictator’s mistress titled “Al Jolson and Me.” Internet chatter about the picture has focused on Braun’s use of blackface, citing it as further evidence of the Nazi leadership’s racism.

But what online commenters have largely neglected is that the image is a tribute to “The Jazz Singer,” the 1927 Hollywood classic about Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson), a Jewish man disowned by his family after he pursues a career in jazz rather than follow in the professional footsteps of his father, a cantor. The first feature-length “talkie,” the movie depicts Jewish life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, including a Yom Kippur service and songs titled “Kol Nidre” and “Kaddish.”

Ten years after its release, as Germany geared up for war, Braun decided to pay tribute to the film, evidently one of her favorites from Hollywood. (Life.com reports that “Gone With the Wind” was another.)

Braun is hardly the only person to have been inspired by “The Jazz Singer.” Though its enthusiastic use of blackface — worn by Jakie during performances — has appalled later generations of filmgoers, the film has also inspired a number of tributes and parodies, including a 1980 remake with Neil Diamond and even an episode of “The Simpsons.”

Still, the revelation that Braun was among the film’s fans is bizarre and unsettling, even if just a tiny footnote in the perversities of that time.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Nazi, Jewish, Hitler, Gone With the Wind, Eva Bruan, Blackface, Al Jolson

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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.