Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Kelly Wittenberg

Second Advisor

Eli Rubin


Horror films reflect the fears of their creators. Some of the first examples of the genre come out of Germany before the Second World War, a time where antisemitism was widespread. Many German filmmakers pre-Nazi Germany used the fear of the other to create movie monsters that are now classics in the horror genre, such as the Golem and Nosferatu. How Jewish representation in horror films has changed since the last century from antisemetic movie monsters to horror movies more respectfully based on Jewish folklore, is an important shift when it comes to the role Jewish representation plays in the continuation of the horror movie genre. It was bound to happen in the evolution of the horror genre. The fear of the other that overcame the citizens of Germany was presented on screens for all to see and translated into various monsters and ghouls. That is what horror was invented for, after all. Despite Jewish writers, like Henrik Galeen, many of the first horror films were used to spread antisemitism across Eastern Europe and make way for Nazism. Even films like The Golem: How He Came into the World, that at first glance may seem culturally sensitive, are riddled with discrimination and hate. The comparison of the Jewish people to vampires in Nosferatu is just another example of this. Hatred and fear are what make up the horror genre, that much is true. However, what could have been films depicting the Jewish struggle with Post-World War One inevitably cemented antisemitic ideology in the minds of the German people and paved the way to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the East. Despite the best efforts of writers such as Galeen, there was seemingly no way to stop what was about to come.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access