Sociology ETDs

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Following the end of World War II in 1945 to 1969, Hollywood films remained silent about the extermination camps, the sites of the murders and incineration of European Jews by Nazi Germany that came to be known as the Holocaust. The Hollywood studio system produced very few Holocaust motion pictures before 1980. This research provides evidence from the files of the Hays Commission in the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to support the hypothesis that censorship was a major social cause of this silence. The correspondence between members of the Hays Commission, the business offices of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America in New York City, and the studios for selected motion pictures produced between 1930 and 1969 demonstrates that censorship was a major factor that prevented Hollywood from producing films and foreign films from appearing in theaters. Once the studio system collapsed and with it The Production Code Administration, films about the Holocaust and the genocide of the Jewish people suddenly appeared in the United States. The archival records of the Hays Commission in the Margaret Herrick Library demonstrate the way films about the Holocaust were delayed by the censorship organization established by the Hollywood studio system. This hypothesis fills an important gap in knowledge about holocaust films as well as offering an important case study in organizational politics and its impact on an important aspect of culture.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Coughlin, Richard

Second Committee Member

Tiano, Susan

Third Committee Member

Stone, James D.


Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in motion pictures, Motion pictures--Censorship--United States--History--20th century, Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America



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