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 $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • 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.