Ivor MontaguIt (Chaplin´s close friend) sent Charlie Chaplin a copy of The black book, Juden Sehen Dich An (The Jews Are Watching You) which was published in Berlin in the 1930s, and revealed that Charlie Chaplin was on a Nazi death list along with names like Albert Einstein. Even activists, bankers, economists, journalists, academics and performers, were found on this list.
Many of them were to end up among the millions exterminated by Hitler in his World War Two death camps. This threat did not intimidate the cinema legend. Instead, it motivated him to make a film in which he mercilessly lampooned the evil regime and depicted Adolf Hitler as a buffoon
Whenever your mind wanders, why Chaplin and Hitler are so alike. Just look the mustache of these two characters.
Now why was Chaplin interested in making a film about Hitler and his evil reign? Was Chaplin Jewish?
To answer those question , we need to check Chaplin´s background.
Hannah Hili (jewish descendant) was his mother and the one who took care of him and his siblings. Intelligence officers could find no trace of the actor’s birth in Britain despite Chaplin always claiming he was born in London in 1889. As a matter of fact Chaplin always refused to deny suggestions of Jewish ancestry, claiming any such move would “play directly into the hands of anti-Semites”. Although The Nazis mistakenly thought Chaplin was Jewish because he never denied it, and the Nazis never proved it. But by far the most remarkable aspect is the inclusion of Charlie Chaplin. He must have feared for his life when he saw the book because the majority of the people in it were exterminated by the Nazis. It should be more a moral and social matter than a political one.
Why was Chaplin opposed to the ideas of the Reich?, What was his message?
I was not there at that time, I was not even born so the answers are here in the following lines:
“Prior to Chaplin, no one had demonstrated that physical comedy could be simultaneously hilariously funny, emotionally passionate, and pointedly intellectual. While his cinema technique tended to be invisible—emphasizing the actor and his actions—he gradually evolved a principle of cinema based on framing: finding the exact way to frame a shot to reveal its motion and meaning completely, thus avoiding disturbing cuts.” – Gerald Mast (International Dictionary ofFilms and Filmmakers, 1991)
“Best known as the ‘the little tramp’, he drew on his childhood experiences of poverty and loss to depict a quintessential underdog, a rather exquisite, sentimentalised version of the Common Man eternally at odds with the strong and the rich, the powerful and unjust… In 1972 he received an honorary Oscar, followed three years later by a knighthood. While the awards were in recognition of his genius, he should be remembered less as a great film-maker than as the man who was the first real icon of cinema. Chaplin’s importance lies in the way he embodied the movies’ power to touch the world.” – Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
As you read these quotes, you can realize that he was the best in what he was doing. Despite he was no a politician, he simply won the battle against Hitler and the Nazi. The only thing that I am sure is that all Chaplin needed was his magical touch to beat Hitler.