This article focuses on the 2007 short film Spielzeugland (Toyland) and its engagement with the cinematic trope of the “wrong” victim and with German-Jewish history. First, the article analyzes how the film imagines the so-called German-Jewish symbiosis at the moment of its most violent dissolution. Second, it juxtaposes Spielzeugland with the British film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008), which stages a situation in which the “wrong” person, that is, a non-Jew, is sent to death in the gas chamber. By evoking and then rewriting the narrative of the “wrong” victim, Spielzeugland disrupts viewers' identification with the tragic fate of the individual who is mistakenly identified as Jewish. The film not only contributes to a fantasy about the positive role that Germans might have played in resistance to the oppression of their Jewish neighbors but also critiques reductive popular narratives about the Holocaust with its revision of the problematic notion of natural victimhood.
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Research Article| November 01 2014
Erin McGlothlin; Rewriting the Fantasy of the “Wrong” Victim in Jochen Alexander Freydank's Spielzeugland. New German Critique 1 November 2014; 41 (3 (123)): 113–134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2753612
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