Written by Ken Sutak, Cinema Judaica, The War Years, 1939-1949, weaves together the rich history of Jewish-American films and filmmakers during the period leading up to and during World War II. Sutak's narrative, posed alongside a striking visual collection of museum-quality rare posters, trade ads or stills, tells the story of how Jewish movies, filmmakers, and movie studios influenced American cultural, political, and even military history of the period.
Painstakingly researched by Sutak, this volume sets the record straight on many misconceptions about Hollywood in the wartime period and covers topics such as Hollywood studios' compliance with the Nazis' control of the motion picture industry in Germany, the ban on Jews from employment within it, and their restrictions on the American distribution of films shown in Germany and throughout Europe.
Cinema Judaica, The War Years is based on a traveling exhibition that gained immense popularity when it first opened in 2007-2008 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum (HUC-JIR) in New York. The exhibit featured an unprecedented exhibition of iconic Hollywood film posters from 1939 to 1949 and illustrated how the motion picture industry countered America's isolationism, advocated going to war against the Nazis, influenced post-war perceptions of the Jewish people and the founding of the State of Israel, and shaped the face of contemporary Jewish life. This traveling exhibition is available from the HUC-JIR Museum.
"Cinema Judaica, The War Years presents a compelling and meticulously researched story through text and imagery so that readers can gain a deep sense of this period both visually as well as narratively," said Rabbi Person, Publisher and Director of the CCAR Press. "This book will appeal to film and history buffs across all generations, and would form a great basis for high school and adult classes in synagogues and other centers of Jewish learning."
Cinema Judaica, The War Years is the first in a series of two books by Sutak, a New York-based litigator and author. Sutak's second book, Cinema Judaica, The Epic Cycle, will cover similar subject matter from the post-World War II era (approx. 1949 to 1972). The Epic Cycle, also based on a popular culture poster exhibit produced by HUC-JIR, is due out in 2015. Cinema Judaica is an exciting collaboration between CCAR Press and HUC-JIR.