The Female Body of Jewish Suffering: The Cinematic Recreation of the Holocaust in the Bulgarian-German Co-production “Zvezdi/Sterne/Stars” (1959)
L'Homme. Europäische Zeitschrift für feministische Geschichtswissenschaft
103 - 117 p.
Zvezdi/Sterne” (Stars), an Bulgarian/East-German co-production directed by Konrad Wolf, is one of the very few Bulgarian feature films that deal with the Holocaust. The film analysis examines how contemporary notions of gender influenced the filmmakers’ attempts to represent the specific Jewish experience of war. It shows how the socialist film producers reverted to Christian symbols (including representations of Virgin Mary) to portray Jewish destinies – very similar to early cinematographic depictions of the Holocaust in Western cinema. The question of how to symbolise the Jewish catastrophe was of high significance at a time when both East Germany and Bulgaria were trying to negotiate a socialist way of remembering the Holocaust. Based on archival documents, the article explores the discussions of the German/Bulgarian artistic teams as they endeavour to resolve these issues. Although split over ideological and artistic questions, they were in agreement that notions of martyrdom and the fated destinies of the Jews were best conveyed through a woman.