Snow White and the Third Reich.

I am currently reading a book titled “Animation under he Swastika-A history of Trickfilm in Nazi Germany,1933-1945”

It is really about how Hitler and Göbbels attempted to compete with Hollywood and especially Disney.

There is a whole chapter in the book about the Disney movie “Snow White and the Seven dwarfs” Apparently it was Hitler’s favourite movie, despite that , the Nazis never achieved to get the movie released in Germany, only a few people including Hitler Göbbels saw the movie and had copies of it.

In the 1930s, the Nazi regime used dubbing of foreign media to control anything negative coming from abroad. As would be the case for Snow White. The movie had been dubbed by German speaking actors in the the late 1930s, but since the movie was never released during World War 2, the dubbed version was only on nationwide release in February 1950.

The sad thing about this is that most of the voice actors were Jewish and did not survive the Holocaust.

The 1938 News Report only mention some names of the cast. The only voice who is credited for her role is Hortense Raky as the speaking voice of Snow White. Two other female actresses are mentioned : Dora Gerson, and a new “Lady Star”. Seeing her age, Dora Gerson certainly dubbed the Evil Queen (and maybe the Witch), while the new female star was certainly the singing voice of Snow White.

Most of the original 1938 cast were Jews, and were murdered by the Nazis :
Dora Gerson died on February 14, 1943, murdered with her family at Auschwitz. Otto Wallburg also died in Auschwitz on October 30, 1944.
Kurt Lilien died on May 28, 1943, at Sobibor extermination camp.
Finally, Kurt Gerron, the Dubbing director, died on October 28, 1944 at Auschwitz. Kurt was coerced into directing a Nazi propaganda documentary intended to be viewed in “neutral” nations about Theresienstadt. However, once the movie was finished, he, his wife and the crew members of the documentary were deported on the camp’s final train transport to Auschwitz.

sources

https://www.jstor.org/stable/42943087

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029583/releaseinfo

https://disneyinternationaldubbings.weebly.com/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs–german-cast.html

Painting for Mengele.

Painting

When you look at some bizarre connections in History, you cannot escape the fact that life sometimes has a ironic way of weaving a tapestry of coincidences.

One of Hitler’s favourite movies was the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” released in 1937.

Disney

One of the main animators of the movie was Art Babbitt. an animator who joined the Disney studio in 1932. He  was born to a Jewish family in Omaha, Nebraska.

But that’s not where this tapestry of coincidences,or even fate, stops.

Dina Gottliebová was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on January 21, 1923 .She was raised by her Mother, Johanna Schawl, a lone parent . Her mother had left Dina’s father when she was only 4 months old.

When Snow white and the Seven dwarfs was released, Dina must have seen the movie at least 7 times.

In 1939, when the Germans invaded her homeland, Dina was living in Prague, where she had enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1942  Dina’s mother received a summons that the Jews were being moved. Dina  left school and volunteered to be shipped out with her mother to , Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia.

Thersien

She was actually sent to Theresienstadt on Jan. 21, 1942, her 19th birthday. Dina and her mother stayed there until Sept. 7, 1943 when they were among 5,000 people transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

In 1944, while in Auschwitz, Dina was chosen by Mengele to draw portraits of Roma Gypsy prisoners .Mengele wished to capture the Roma’s skin coloration better than he could with camera and film at that time. Dina agreed if her own mother’s life were spared as well,Mengele agreed.

One of the people she painted was called Celine. Dina says of painting her muse back in 1944.

“She was very sad and I said, ‘Are you sick?’”  “Celine  said, ‘My baby just died.’ It was a 2-month-old baby and she couldn’t get anything to feed the baby and didn’t have any milk. And Celine couldn’t eat anything. We had black bread with something in it—too much bran or something that made people sick—and I said, ‘Well, can I help with something?’ She said, ‘You can get some white bread.’”

Dina asked Mengele for some white bread. He delivered and Dina sneaked it to Celine, but unfortunately Celine did not survive the death camp. (I believe the portrait below is of Celine but I could not verify it, But it is definitely one of Dina’s paintings)

celine portarit

Both Dina and her Mother survived the Holocaust.Dina moved to the US after the war.

However this is not where this tapestry of life stops. There was to be one more twist to Dina’s life. On April 27,1949, Dina married Art Babbitt. The man who was the main animator of the movie she had watched so many times.

Their marriage didn’t last though. They got divorced in 1963. Dina died aged 86 on July 29,2009, in Santa Cruz California

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Sources

Goodtimes.sc

The Jewish News of Northern California

IMDb.