The Nazis, The Rabbi, and The Camera

Holocaust, History, Photography, Technology, Jewish Highlights, Jewish Film
Claus Bredenbrock
43 minutes


Release year: 2023
Countries of Origin: Germany
Languages: German
Original title: Die Nazis, der Rabbi und die Kamera
Also known as: Leica - Les clichés de l'histoire
Genre: Documentary


Photographer and rabbi Frank Dabba Smith doesn't believe in simple theories. "Black-and-white views don't get anyone anywhere," he says. That's why, even as a young man, he traveled to Germany, the country that, on the one hand, is responsible for the death of his relatives in Poland, but, on the other, gave birth to Frank Dabba Smith's greatest passion - the Leica 35mm camera.
As a young student, Frank had also read how Leica company boss Ernst Leitz II helped Jews in and around Wetzlar during the Nazi era. He later contacted the Leitz family. The grandson of Ernst Leitz II, Knut Kühn-Leitz, had had a very close relationship with his grandfather until his death in 1956. But he had never said anything about the National Socialist era, and certainly not about his help for the oppressed.

Among those rescued by Ernst Leitz was the family of Heinrich Ehrenfeld, owner of a Frankfurt photo store. Once in the U.S., the family changed its name from Ehrenfeld to Enfield, and the granddaughter Jill Enfield is now known worldwide for alternative photographic developing and processing methods. She has been in contact with Frank for years.

The film takes us to the original locations of the action in Wetzlar, New York and Frankfurt am Main. In addition to Frank Dabba Smith and Jill Enfield, Oliver Nass, great-grandson of Ernst Leitz II, also comments on the events of that time.


Claus Bredenbrock Born 13.12.1947 at Gelsenkirchen-Buer, West-Germany. 1968 – 1974 Studies in Social Sciences, Theory of the Media, Law and Education at the “Ruhr-Universitaet”, Bochum, West-Germany and University of North York, Toronto, Canada.

1st and 2nd State’s Examination for Teaching at Colleges for Social Work and Pre-School-Education. 1976 –1981 Lecturer at a College for Social Work in the Ruhr-Region, West-Germany.

1981/82 Visiting Researcher at the “Ethnic Relations Research Unit”, University of Aston, Birmingham and the “Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies”, University of Birmingham, England. In 1982, Final Diploma in English at the “Institute of Linguists”, London, England.

Since 1982 freelance author for regional and national newspapers and newsmagazines, since 1986 author for regional, national and international public radio and television networks and their magazine programmes, author of TV- and Radio documentaries.

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