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The City Without Jews

film series: From Vault to Screen: Austria

  • Saturday, June 20, 2020
  • 2:30 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium

courtesy Filmarchiv Austria

The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden) was once considered lost, but this reconstructed version was released in 2019. The film is an adaptation of the 1922 The City Without Jews: A Novel of Our Time by Austrian writer Hugo Bettauer, a work now considered prophetic with respect to the Holocaust. Set in early 1920s Vienna, the film depicts a population feeling loss and looming social instability, aggravated by inflation and unemployment. The people are demanding the purging of Jews from the city. "For a story about the forced expulsion of an entire ethnic group, The City Without Jews is oddly good-natured. . . . The scenario was topical, but intended as ludicrous, a be-careful-what-you-wish-for fable whose moral argues for tolerance, if of a somewhat backhanded kind." — Jordan Hoffman. Newly commissioned score by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth. (Hans Karl Breslauer, 1924, subtitles, 80 minutes)