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Veit HarlanThe Life and Work of a Nazi Filmmaker$
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Frank Noack

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167008

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167008.001.0001

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Kunz versus Cohn

Kunz versus Cohn

(p.52) 5 Kunz versus Cohn
Veit Harlan

Frank Noack

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter deals with a scandal that might have ended Harlan’s career and even his life. In a fit of jealousy, he publicly whips his colleague Fritz Kortner for allegedly raping and then humiliating Hilde Körber, and then he threatens to shoot all participants in the scandal. He is about to be fired by the State Theater, but Nazi newspapers depict Kortner as a powerful, lecherous Jew and Harlan as an underprivileged Aryan trying to protect his wife’s honor. Harlan apologizes to Kortner but remains dissatisfied professionally and in a letter to Ernst Legal, who is in charge of the State Theater, for the first time uses völkisch language, attacking a contemporary theater that glorifies ugliness and decadence and that makes him feel like an outcast just because he is “normal.” In 1931, his father, Walter Harlan, suffers a fatal heart attack after a heated dispute with a Jewish colleague, Hans J. Rehfisch, an event that will be exploited after 1933 and again after 1945.

Keywords:   rape accusation, Fritz Kortner, anti-Semitism, attack on contemporary theater, father’s death, jealousy, scandal, Ernst Legal

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