IS THERE ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE HARRY POTTER FILMS?

Are the Gringotts banking goblins depicted as anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews?

Images from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Directed by Christopher Joseph "Chris" Columbus.

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The following is an analysis of the images of the Gringotts bankers and their seemingly implied visual ties to Jews. 

This analysis attempts to demonstrate that there are more connections to Jewish stereotypes in this scene than just the obvious superficial ones of the facial features of the Gringotts bankers. 

Embedded in the set are Jewish symbols with a strong connection to historic anti-Semitic symbolism, which are utilized in such a way as to create a visual story which could leave the viewer with possibly subconscious or reinforce conscious negative feelings toward Jews.
 

The Gringott's Bank
Note: the "crooked" quality of this bank.
To fully appreciate the concepts presented below, please first view  the clip from the film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uViRIiEApFE

or:
 
 

Still from Harry Potter Goblin Bank floor


Still from Harry Potter bank floor
(highlighted detail)

Is that a Star of David embedded in the floor?

In the following sequence, note how the director chooses to use the Jewish star as the center of all the action.  In other words, the goblins are pulling wagons filled with gold directly across the star and then they simultaneously cross paths within the star with Harry as he makes his way to the teller.

Note also, the close-up of the cobwebs hanging from the chandeliers which is shown within the same scene as we see the Jewish star.  Visually, this element conveys, and reinforces the notion that this particular bank is a dirty and unclean environment.  This either consciously or subconsciously ties these three ideas together: Money, the Jewish star and unclean.

Notice in the following frames, Potter now walks through and then past the star, which is then seen behind him. There is yet another wagon filled with gold being pulled across that same star, again reinforcing the association of gold with the Jewish symbol.


 



SCENE ACTION ANALISYS


Notice the movement of Potter and Hagrid as they are traced through this scene (red arrow through the floor), and notice that there  is only one star in the floor which is situated in the center of the room. It is a good distance from the teller.
(ACTION DETAIL)
They walk over and through the only star to reach the end of the room where the teller awaits them, marked by the far end of the arrow.  At that point, notice that there is no star where they come to rest to speak to the teller. 

The question remains, if there is no star beneath the teller at the end of the room where Harry and Hagrid are standing, then why and how is Potter standing nearly on top of the star?  

Note how this scene is constructed from the viewpoint of the teller. The view is designed and composed with Harry surrounded by the Jewish star while speaking to the teller. It makes no sense for the continuity of the movement of the action leading up to this scene, as the action of walking through the hall to get to the teller has Harry walking over, through and then past the star.  Then as Harry stops at the end of the hall where there is no star to speak to the teller.  The big question is: how is he suddenly centered in the star? ... again, where there is no star

This point is significant if one considers the director might be attempting to make a visual statement connecting the Jewish star with gold.

Harry's stance is such that he seems fearful as if to have his hands tied behind his back as if being interrogated like a prisoner of war. This creates a visual concept of Harry tied up, surrounded and swallowed up by the Jewish star in this dark seemingly Jewish world of demonic bankers. 

Conclusion: There is no good explanation for the way the Jewish star migrates into the frame with Harry. There is no way to explain the way the goblins walk across the star. 

It seems the movement of action in this scene, (if seen without  dialogue), was deliberately designed for the sole purpose of planting a visual association in the viewer's mind, to construct an age old anti-Semitic trope connecting two basic symbols:
the Jewish star and gold.

What seems clear is that throughout the entire scene, the director is focusing in on and reinforcing a blatant visual connection with the concepts of:  gold, money, banking, the Jewish star and fear.

"Hah, here's the little devil!"

As the action continues, in this scene, Hagrid holds up the key (much in the same way one would hold up a crucifix to a vampire) and says: "Hah, here's the little devil!"  At the moment Hagrid says the word "devil" the director flashes us a full close-up of the devil-like goblin-banker, grinning or sneering.
 

This creates a connection between the banker-goblin with the word "devil" and a subconscious cultural connection to vampires - or, according to the images and Judaic symbols presented above, an implied metaphorical and symbolic connection with Jews, vampires and the devil.

- Historically, in anti-Semitic texts, Jews have been continually compared or connected to the devil and even said to be children of the devil.  In his treatise, Martin Luther about Jews wrote that they are "full of the devil's feces ... which they wallow in like swine,"

- A book by Joshua Trachtenberg describing use of the devil on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil -- literally and figuratively: http://jps.org/product/9780827602274/the-devil-and-the-jews

Below:

Compare a 12th century English  anti-Semitic cartoon depiction of money changers (bankers) with a 21st century depiction of some bankers.   It seems this viewpoint hasn't really changed all that much in 800 years. 

And then compare 20th century Nazi anti-Semitic cartoons which happens to resemble some of the other bankers in the Harry Potter film. 

Curious how there are two different physiques of the bankers within this film which coincidentally resembles both anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews. 

- - This doesn't seem very accidental or coincidental.

Below are side by side instances where the Harry Potter bankers are compared to historical anti-Semitic imagry.

12th century English  cartoons
depicting Jews
 



 

 

 

Nazi anti-Semitic cartoons

Harry Potter's Gringotts bankers


 


 

 

 


 


 

 
This one wouldn't be wearing a Yarmulke, would he?
Are these visual relationships to Jews merely coincidental and accidental? Or, do they even exist at all?  If they do, are they willful and deliberate?  Did the director, Chris Columbus intentionally draw relationships to Jews with known, historical anti-Semitic imagery?
 
Or, were these simply cultural norms or common symbols that casually worked their way into the societies' global sub consciousness, and over centuries became the metaphor for demons and greed?  - Were the film director, Chris Columbus and set designers the unfortunate victims of this cultural phenomenon and thus - accidentally, unknowingly, innocently and completely unintentionally incorporating this symbolic implication of anti-Semitism into his film?

Conclusion:

It appears through images and dialogue presented above that Mr. Columbus is attempting to draw and reinforce a connection between the devil and Jews with the use of anti-Semitic symbols, images and ideas with Judaic symbols.

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