Annual Conference Commemorating Kristallnacht:

Hollywood and Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Stories Told/Stories Untold

Thursday, November 13, 2014; 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Drew Universityconference photo
Dorothy Young Center of the Arts

Registration: $20 per person (includes lunch)
(Conference free for all Drew University students, staff and faculty; lunch not included)

Reservations required: call 973-408-3600 or e-mail

Approved for 6 continuing education credits


Program Schedule

8:30 a.m. Registration and Coffee

9:00 a.m. Greetings and Introduction to Morning Program; Dr. Ann Saltzman, Director of the Center for Holocaust / Dr. Mary Ann Baenninger, President, Drew University

9:15 a.m. Stories we Tell: Narrative and the Politics of Memory; Dr. Joshua Kavaloski, Associate Professor of  German, Drew University

9:30 a.m. Racism, Xenophobia, and Anti-Semitism in America: The Interwar Years; Dr. Larry Greene, Professor of History, Seton Hall University

10:15 a.m. Hollywood & Hitler, 1933-1939; Dr. Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies, Brandeis University

12 noon Lunch

1:15 p.m. Hollywood & Hitler, 1939-1945; Dr. Susan Carruthers, Professor of History, Rutgers University-Newark

2:15 p.m. Closing Panel, moderated by Professor Larry Greene; Participants: Dr. Kavaloski, Dr. Doherty, Dr. Carruthers


This conference will focus on how Hollywood’s interface with the socio-political-historical context of 1933-1945 fostered the creation of films that told only a limited story about the evolving repressive and genocidal Nazi regime. Our hope is that attendees will be able to use the information they gain to raise larger questions about how genocide and war have been covered in more recent Hollywood films. This seems an especially important issue for educators.

More specifically, we will explore how Hollywood’s interface with the socio-political context of the time fostered the creation of films that told only a limited story about the evolving repressive and genocidal Nazi regime. For example, Hollywood’s in-house censorship bureau, the Production Code Administration, sought to make sure that what could be perceived as anti-Nazi films would not endanger the market for American films abroad. The few Hollywood films of the 1930s that attempted to depict what was happening in Germany were often met with accusations of “war-mongering” and demands for congressional investigations into Hollywood’s “propaganda” efforts. Since so many Hollywood studio heads were of European Jewish background, these demands often became infused with anti-Semitism which was very much present among sectors of the American populace at the time. Indeed, it was not until after the United States actively joined the war in 1941 that films began to depict Germany as an enemy although these very same films barely hinted at the genocidal assault against the Jews that was occurring at the same time.

Our speakers all have expertise in the conference theme. We begin with a short talk about the importance of narrative/story by Dr. Joshua Kavaloski. Dr. Larry Greene will then describe the socio-political-historical factors surrounding the decisions being made in Hollywood; these include the debates between interventionists and isolationists about how involved the United States should be in European affairs as well as anti-Semitic tendencies in our country at that time. Dr. Thomas Doherty will then speak on the topic of his recent book, “Hollywood and Hitler: 1933-1939,” followed by Dr. Susan Carruthers who will focus on the years 1939-1945. The conference will conclude with an open discussion with all speakers; we anticipate that during this extended Q & A, discussion may gravitate toward the depiction of war and genocide in more recent films.

To register for the conference, please print out the Registration form below, fill out and return to the Center with a check for $20 and send to Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study, Embury Hall, 36 Main Street, Madison, NJ  07940.  Please make check out to Drew University.  Thank you.

CHS Conference Invite and Agenda

CHS Conference Registration Form



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