Through watching universals versions of the Holocaust American audiences were easily able to identify with the subject and harassers on film because they were able to relate it to themselves as well as current events in America. Nice introduction Over signifying a religious celebration like Hanukkah was an attempt at universalistic. In the Diary of Anne Frank, Anne barely touches on the subject of the holiday. During this time period, Hanukkah was not a noted holiday compared to Yon Kipper and Ross Hashing.
But, film writers of the The Diary of Anne Frank made the holiday the climax of the film which ultimately leads Americans to believe that Hanukkah had great meaning in the Jewish religion. Both Hanukkah and Christmas share similarities: they both take place around the same time of year, gifts are being received as well as given and there are decorations relating to both holidays. I believe the writers purposely did this to show that Jews aren’t so different from Americans and can relate to Americans from a religious stand.
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In these films they began to broaden the views from Jews alone, to all minorities that could relate to having been forced to assimilate and suppressed. When film makers started making films about the Holocaust, they had to rewrite most of the script to make them relatable to the American audience. In the film The Diary of Anne Frank, such changes were made often to secure audience Identification, “In the beginning of the film, Anne explains the anta-Jewels laws using the term “we”-we had to wear yellow stars- Instead of Jews had to wear yellow stars,’ as Is written In the pig. 3) The simple change in word may seem insignificant but it does overall change the meaning of her statement. The word ‘Ewe” generalizes the statement. This makes it relatable to anyone who has undergone similar suffering and racial oppression. At this time especially, African Americans had been undergoing similar situations. In sass’s America, the black man had taken place of the Jew man As Lie Wisest has affirmed “… It’s vocabulary takes one back a quarter of a century… The Blacks rise up in the “ghettos”… The police use “gas” to disperse demonstrations…
The Watts and Harlem riots are compared to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising… Political analysts talk of nuclear “holocausts. ” (Dodson pig. L ) It Is obvious that the Holocaust has left an Impression on the American culture. The language and knowledge of the Holocaust understanding of the problem and what ensued. Sometimes writers couldn’t relate, r downplay, everything that occurred during the Holocaust so they used other tactics to capture the audience. An example of this is shown in the television series This is Your Life specifically the Hanna Bloch Keener episode.
In this episode the writers were more so focused on Henna’s love relationship with her husband Walter Keener instead of her personal victory in overcoming this horrendous tragedy. Throughout the show her husband Walter Keener and their relationship is brought up multiple times. The writers do this because almost everyone can relate to loving someone rather than being able to relate to the atrocities of the Nazis. Obviously they believed that this was a better choice at capturing the American audience’s attention because the host, Ralph Edwards, revolves Henna’s life around her relationship with Walter rather than her wartime experiences.
For example, Edwards asked many questions about Hanna and Walters plans to marry before the war. What was also brought up was how Walter tried to send for Hanna but wasn’t able to because of America’s strict immigration laws. What was surprising to me, was after talking about her finally being liberated Edwards goes on and makes a statement eating that the best day of Henna’s life was when Walter surprised her and showed up at her home. The writers of the show twisted Henna’s life story and only focused on what they wanted to show to the American audience watching.
Although many times film writers took it upon them to alter what the Holocaust was and its impact on its victims there were a few movies that showed truthful footage. The Judgment at Emergent was a film that showed raw footage from the war to its viewers. “The act of witnessing is shown endowing viewers with the recollected powers of the photograph and ultimately enables them to pass Judgment on what they, too have witnessed. ” (Chandler pig. 7) This rare way of filming the Holocaust was one of the only ways audiences were able to base decisions off of the whole truth and not warped interpretations of the Holocaust. Overall American audiences watched mainly warped versions of Holocaust films. They were written to help generalize the Jews situation to be more relatable to whoever watched rather than keeping the uniqueness of the situation. With the Holocaust becoming a universals symbol in the sass’s the American audience was able to relate and understand an event they had never even experienced.