This is how Charlie Chaplin became an honorary Jew.
It was the summer of 1938 and Charlie Chaplin decided he would make and star in a movie squaring off the two most opposite characters he could think of. Adolf Hitler and the Tramp in the guise of the Jewish barber.
[Image: Chaplin himself and a friend, 1918]
In 1940 "The Great Dictator", Chaplin's first "talkie", was released. Chaplin wanted to keep the Tramp alive in the age of sound cinema, as well as expose the world leader who stole Chaplin's mustache as the mad dictator that he was. It would end up becoming his most successful film.
At the time, many critics viewed the movie as a pro-Communist screed aimed at attacking Nazi Germany, whose leader was admired and respected in certain circles in the United States. It was, they thought, bad form.
This had many speculate about Charlie Chaplin's ethnicity and religion, so much so, that a reporter felt it appropriate to ask: "Many people believe you are Jewish, are you?"
Chaplin gave a simple and pristine answer: “I do not have that good fortune."…
In later years, Chaplin wrote how much he regretted "The Great Dictator". Had he known the depth and breadth of murder and violence the Nazis committed he would not have laughed so flippantly.
Charlie Chaplin passed away in December 1977, and we remember the Tramp with great fondness. (By National library of Israel).
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