Tender males: Jewish figures as affective archive in East German DEFA film

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In recent years, scholars have shown that the Holocaust was not absent in East German post-war film. Despite these efforts, the argument appears to persist that Jewish victims (and thus modes of empathy and grief) did not exist within DEFA's historical imaginary. In this article, I take the concept of the emotionalized Jewish male as a new lens through which to reexamine the relationship between the Holocaust and anti-fascist memory politics in East German film. Tracing representations of Jews from the 1940s to the 1970s, I demonstrate how DEFA films produced the ‘face’ of Jewish protagonists as an affective and ethical site where the spectator engages with the past in an anti-fascist post-Holocaust public sphere.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in Eastern European Cinema
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • East German post-war film
  • DEFA
  • representations of Jews
  • post-Holocaust memory
  • masculinity
  • affect
  • empathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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