Naturally, despite Hitler’s claims that one of his nemeses on the world stage, i.e. Charlie Chaplin, was a Jew, Chaplain was a Jew. This was not in fact the case.
On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin actually had a childhood lifestory was one of poverty as was the life other entertainers of his ilk, such as Jackie Chan. (Chan, too, had spent most of his formative years without a parent on hand as he honed his entertainment talents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Chan ) Hitler’s youth under a stern father was not particularly a wonderful experience either.
Nonetheless, in THE GREAT DICTATOR Charlie Chaplin played up the Hitler-lie about him being a Jew and acted throughout the film in the role of a poor Jewish barber who takes over for the right wing nuts leading the Germanic nations of Austria and Germany to disaster. In retrospect, Chaplin’s willingness to ally himself with the Jews of the planet in this persecuted period in our global history is quite commendable.
In short, this very April 2009 we now recall the 120th anniversary of these two different human beings who grew from obscurity to world fame in the early part of the 20th Century. [In doing so, we need to recognize the fact that Chaplain often had his vices and foibles—like his continued attraction to younger (and under-aged) women.]
Interestingly, at times BOTH the British- (his native land) and the U.S. governments (under leadership of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI) attempted to blacklist the outspoken dramatist-actor-&-music score dramatist.
First, in the 1930s, it was insinuated in many corners in royal Britain that a knighthood for Charlie Chaplin would not be given due to prevalent claims that Chaplain had not served in the British military in WWI.
Later, following WWII during the McCarthy era, Chaplin was FINALLY forced into exile in Switzerland. http://www.hollywoodusa.co.uk/GravesOutofLA/chaplin.htm
Since I, myself, have found myself living in a sort-of-exile from the USA since 2003, after the U.S.A.’s misguided invasion of Iraq and failure to prosecute Dick Cheney and George W. Bush for breaking either USA law or international laws, I encourage everyone who can to watch the film THE GREAT DICTATOR this 2009.
By the way, when I first saw the exhibition on Hitler and Chaplin in Frankfurt in April 1989, that same continent of Europe was just months away from a revolution of change in totalitarian and demagogic lands.
Perhaps, since the Hitler-Chaplin moustache and mentality is still popular in the Middle East, we can expect a little more revolution in months and years, to come.