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Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 11:15 to 12:30 Auditorium
Joseph Süss Oppenheimer—"Jew Süss"—is one of the most iconic figures in the history of an-ti-Semitism. Originally from Heidelberg, in 1733 Oppenheimer became the "court Jew" of the duke of the small German state of Württemberg. When the duke died unexpectedly a few years later, the Württemberg authorities arrested Oppenheimer, put him on trial, and con-demned him to death for unspecified "misdeeds." On February 4, 1738, Oppenheimer was hanged in front of a large crowd just outside Stuttgart. It was one of the most sensational exe-cutions of the entire eighteenth century. This lecture by Prof. Yair Mintzker (Princeton University) is based on his new book, “The Many Deaths of Jew Süss: The Notorious Trial and Execution of an Eighteen Century Court Jew” (Princeton UP, 2017). It will concentrate on the tension between the historical figure of “Jew Süss” as reflected in eighteenth-century sources on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the widespread and often cynical use of this figure in later works of fiction, chief among them the vicious Nazi propaganda movie "Jew Süss,” which was made in 1940 at the behest of Joseph Goebbels.