In 1940, Veit Harlan directed his most controversial movie: Jud Suss. The film takes various historical liberties, but otherwise depicts the life and death of Joseph Suss Oppenheimer, Court Jew to Karl Alexander, the 18th century Duke of Württemberg. Subjectively speaking, it's a very well made film, but its content is quite striking: the Jewish characters are depicted as conniving, power-hungry and lascivious (although the duke himself doesn't come off much better), and various members of the cast and crew found difficulty getting work again after the war was over.
In attempting to mitigate their role in the production, I have heard (although I have no source beyond Wikipedia) that some of the people involved claimed to have been operating under duress. Josef Goebbels, the Reichsminister of Propaganda, was himself very involved in the production of the movie, so the claim is not so unbelievable. My question concerns a feature of the film, and how it may have been analysed critically at the time:
Karl Alexander (played by Heinrich George) is depicted as greedy and lecherous, and it is his moral depravity that causes him to invite Jews back to Stuttgart in order to finance his various entertainments. To do so, he needs to overrule the interests of his advisors, and to their chagrin he amends the constitution in order to deprive them of a voice within his cabinet and to grant sole, unmitigated rule to himself.
When I was watching this, I couldn't help but wonder whether or not the Duke's seizure of power might have been interpreted at the time as a veiled criticism of the Fuhrer. The historical circumstances are quite different, but he too entered office as one of several people who held the reigns, and he too found ways of abrogating the constitution, terminating the republic and becoming the sole power. In the movie, it is "the Jew" who is behind the rise of the Duke, and the film positions the audience in such a way that the abrogation of a constitution and the dissolution of his council are seen as heinous acts.
I was wondering if there are any sources that show that Germans at the time might have felt that this was treading a little too closely to what Hitler himself had done? Furthermore, is there any indication that members of the crew may have used it in their defense after the war? In other words, to suggest that the portrayal of the Duke was a deliberate criticism of the leader of Reich?