»Some of you may know of the recently rediscovered 1924 Austrian silent film, “The City Without Jews”. It was featured this month at the New York Jewish Film Festival.
The film is based on a book from 1922 – in other words, even before “Mein Kampf”. In Vienna, in Austria, the city of Rabbi Schneier. A country’s economy is in tatters. Opportunistic politicians need a scapegoat. And so they say: let’s blame the Jews. Jews were hounded, harassed and ultimately expelled. They were forced to leave in masses, by train and on foot.
At the time, such imaginings might have been dismissed as the height of absurdity. New York’s local newspaper called it “one of the most fatuous productions imaginable”.
Yet within years, cinematic satire turned to real-life prophecy. Today, the film has taken on a new life as a warning to act early, before the unthinkable fiction becomes all too real fact.«