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The Shooting Star: the depiction of Bohlwinkel

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Furienna
Member
#21 · Posted: 19 Nov 2011 06:31 · Edited by: Furienna
While it was unfortunate in hindsight, that Hergé had a villain, who can be seen as a Jewish stereotype... What can we do about it now, except moving on and enjoy the album for what it is? And even if Blumenstein/Bohlwinkel happens to be a Jewish stereotype, can't we just take him as a villain, who happened to also be a Jew?
blisteringbarnacle
Member
#22 · Posted: 21 Nov 2011 06:06
Well it was definitely meant to portray Blummelstein/Bohwinkel as a Jew. Belgium was under Nazi-occupation, and it was certainly written as Nazi propaganda. That doesn't mean Herge was a Nazi though. I'm sure if he had continued with The Land of Black Gold, that probably would have been the last Tintin book.
It's obvious that Skoil and Mueller are German, and with King Ottokar's Sceptre a critique of the Anschluss, I doubt the Nazis were fond of Herge and Tintin.
As pointed out in Post-War versions, Herge tries to hide Blummelsterin/Bohlwinkel is an American Jewish banker. But its origins remain.
I don't blame Herge or consider him a racist. I think he was quite enlightened for his time, when dealing with other races. Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo were just as much propaganda written to satisfy Herge's bosses at the time. As we know, he didn't think highly of those two works either.
Furienna
Member
#23 · Posted: 21 Nov 2011 07:47
That's true, Hergé wasn't at all proud of "Tintin of Soviet", which is also was the only orginally black and white adventure, that he never colorized. And we also know how unkind time has been towards "Tintin in Congo". I'm only surprised that Hergé still used stereotypes about Jews in "The shooting star", when he was such a pioneer about the Chinese several years earlier in "Blue lotus". But I guess you're right, that he was forced to satisfy his Nazist bosses at the time. And he did make some changes in the album version: Blumenstein became Bohlwinkel (even though it unfortunately also turned out to be known as a Jewish surname), New York became Sao Rico, a panel with two stereotype Jews discussing the end of the world was removed. And anyone can make a mistake or two.
GSC
Member
#24 · Posted: 31 Dec 2011 20:41
In the first edition (Which I don't think is in print anymore), he's American.
jcjlf
Member
#25 · Posted: 2 Jan 2012 13:11
Furienna:
I'm only surprised that Hergé still used stereotypes about Jews in "The shooting star", when he was such a pioneer about the Chinese several years earlier in "Blue lotus". But I guess you're right, that he was forced to satisfy his Nazist bosses at the time.

Amongst Roman Catholics and other Christians it was not uncommon to have prejudices against Jewish people at that time. The Holocaust may have changed this later. I suppose: also for Hergé, who was quite a sensible man. Later he might have felt ashamed for Blumenstein/Bohlwinkel but maybe more ashamed for a bit opportunistic behaviour during the occupation, like the majority of the people.

Still I find remarkable other tendencies in the Crab and the Shooting Star that could be used for Hergé's defence:
Haddock and Allan seem to be adversaries when Tintin meets them, but a short while later Haddock is Tintin's helper. This could be a metaphor suggested by Hergé: "The English are supposed to be our enemies, that is what the reigning occupying power lets us believe, but in the end the English will help you!" Captain Chester is also an Englishman who helps Tintin and Haddock in the next album. Are these signs of hidden resistance and sympathy for the Allies? By their introduction the censors of Le Soir are satisfied: Allan an Haddock are villains and drunks, but when they don't look sharply anymore, one of these two turns out to be Tintin's best friend.
Furienna
Member
#26 · Posted: 2 Jan 2012 17:38 · Edited by: Furienna
But is Captain Haddock really English then? Moulinsart (Marlinspike) is his ancestral castle, even though his family must have been forced to sell it at some point, as he didn't own it when Tintin first met him. But then again, the ancestral surname "Hadoque" was changed into "Haddock", which sure looks like an English form of it. So I guess the Haddock family, who orginally were Belgian aristocrats, could have moved to England after they had lost their castle, and when they got there, they also changed their name.
marsbar
Moderator
#27 · Posted: 2 Jan 2012 20:11
Let's try not to veer off topic too much - we've a dedicated thread for discussing Captain Haddock's nationality:
Captain Haddock: his nationality.
mct16
Member
#28 · Posted: 2 Jan 2012 21:30
jcjlf:
Are these signs of hidden resistance and sympathy for the Allies?

Belgium has always had a reputation as an Anglophile country since Britain played a major role in gaining recognition for the the kingdom of Belgian in the 1830s and declared war on Germany when it invaded Belgium in 1914.

Even during the Occupation, the censor does not appear to have come down heavily on aspects of Belgian comics which showed sympathy to the British: Tintin's British adventure "The Black Island" was published in colour for the first time in 1943; EP Jacobs' science-fiction comic "Le Rayon U" ("The U-Ray") includes British-like characters such as Lord Calder, Major Walton and Sergeant MacDuff.
Furienna
Member
#29 · Posted: 3 Jan 2012 04:12
Really? Because I've always heard, that "The black island" was one of the two albums, which they were forbidden to print during the occupation. But it maybe only was the black and white version?
marsbar
Moderator
#30 · Posted: 3 Jan 2012 04:43
Furienna:
I've always heard, that "The black island" was one of the two albums, which they were forbidden to print during the occupation.

See thread Black Island: Banned by the Nazis?

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