One of the most prominent films made by producer-director Stanley Kramer, from an original screenplay by Abby Mann, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) is a fictional film based on factual events, and depicts the trial of four judges for their crimes during the Nazi regime. Set in 1948, the film nonetheless related closely to events in 1961, chiefly the trial of Adolf Eichmann and the building of the Berlin Wall - pivotal moments in Holocaust remembrance and the intensification of Cold War hostilities. As Jewish filmmakers, Kramer and Mann shared a commitment to remembrance that contradicts a longstanding - although recently challenged - historiographical contention that Jewish Americans paid little public attention to what came to be called the "Holocaust" until the Eichmann trial or after. Although Kramer was a Hollywood filmmaker who made films for commercial release and popular consumption, he and Mann also felt a responsibility to history. Utilizing the techniques of historical film analysis, this essay examines the filmmakers’ practice of historical filmmaking; their film’s representation and interpretation of the past to include surviving witnesses and Nazi perpetrators, and what has come to be called "particularism" and "universalism"; and the film’s reception by a range of contemporary audiences. Reconsidering Judgment at Nuremberg demonstrates it cannot be categorized as an example of the "Americanization" or "Hollywoodization" of the Holocaust.
"Challenging the "Hollywoodization" of the Holocaust: Reconsidering 'Judgment at Nuremberg' (1961),"
Jewish Film & New Media: Vol. 1
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/jewishfilm/vol1/iss2/3