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Movie "The Believer" - Nazi Jew as Nihilist

January 15, 2019

Perhaps the only film to look at Judaism critically, this 2001 movie about a Jew who became a Nazi made only $200,000 at the box office despite getting 84% positive ratings from the critics.

Henry Bean, the director, says Hollywood distributors rejected it after an audience of Jewish matrons at the Simon Wiesenthal Center gave it the thumb's down. Bean never made another movie. This is the state of intellectual life in the United Shtetls of America.

In the review below, where Jones uses the term "Nihilist," I would use "satanist."   

by E. Michael Jones
Culture Wars (April 2011)
(Excerpt edited by Henry Makow in May 2011)

The Believer is a 2001 film written and directed by Henry Bean about an orthodox Jew, played by Ryan Gosling, who becomes a neo-Nazi. The film is based loosely on the life of Daniel Burros, a neo-Nazi who committed suicide in the mid-'60s after a New York Times reporter wrote an article exposing him as a Jew.

According to Bean: "Burros was staying at a camp in the Poconos with the neo-Nazis when the story in the New York Times claiming that he was Jewish came out.  The Nazis weren't upset. They were saying just sit down; we can talk about this. But Burros went up to his room, put on a Wagner record and shot himself. He killed himself within an hour of the story coming out."

Bean began discussing the Danny Burros story in the '70s when he was a writer living on the West Coast. He began to see Burros as typifying a particular kind of Jew. "He was a rabbi manque.  Antisemitism is a form of practicing Judaism.  He's sort of a rabbi after all. A Jew by day, a Nazi by night. . . . He was desperately hiding something and compulsively trying to bring it out at the same time. People are drawn to contradiction. He undergoes a conversion, but not back to the Torah."

By telling the story of the Jewish Nazi, Bean concluded, "I began to understand what Judaism was."

Bean's explanation of how a Jew can become a Nazi is at root theological. Through a series of flashbacks, the viewer sees Danny Balint, as he is called in the movie, arguing with his Yeshiva teacher about whether Abraham spared Isaac's life, as recounted in the Genesis account, or whether, as Danny maintains, he died on Mt. Moriah.

Danny's problems with religion stem from the fact that he takes the Torah much more seriously and literally than his fellow Yeshiva bokkers. When one of them tells Danny that "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," he becomes rhapsodic: "Fear of the Lord," he responds, "makes you afraid of everything. Do you even believe in God? I'm the only one who does believe. I see Him for the power-drunk madman that he is. And we're supposed to worship such a deity? I say never."

At this point the teacher tells one of the students "to ask Rabbi Singer remove Danny from my class," something which prompts Danny to turn his eyes upward and say to God, "Then let Him destroy me now. Let Him destroy me like the conceited bully that He is. Go ahead." 

the_believer.jpgWhen Danny gets a call from a New York Times reporter, he gives an eloquent articulation of anti-Semitism. Judaism "is a sickness. . . . The real Jew is a nomad and a wanderer. He has no roots and no attachments. He universalizes everything. All he can do is buy and sell and manipulate markets. It's all mental. Marx, Freud, Einstein: what have they given us? Communism, infantile sexuality and the atom bomb. They want nothing but nothingness, nothing without end."

The main issue in The Believer is theological. Danny has penetrated to the heart of the Jewish religion by understanding that the Jew worships Nothingness. As he says to the Times reporter, the Jews "want nothing but nothingness, nothing without end."
The Times reporter is impressed, but, at the moment when the real issue is framed, he changes the subject. "Wow," he tells Danny, "You're incredibly articulate, but how can you believe all this when you're a Jew yourself?"

When confronted by the contradiction at the heart of his identity, Danny becomes violent. At first he denies he's Jewish, then he threatens to sue the Times if the reporter publishes the article: "It's reckless disregard. I'm going to sue your fucking Jew paper." Finally, he takes out a gun and puts it into the mouth of the reporter and announces, as if unaware of the contradiction: "If you publish that article, I will kill myself."

All of the themes we have been discussing--Jews, racism, Nazism, nihilism, and violence--are all present in this powerful scene. At this point, they begin to coalesce into a coherent picture.

The Jewish Nazi is a political terrorist, but he is, first of all, a Nazi, which is to say a particular kind of socialist. Jews were drawn to socialism and communism throughout the 19th century. In fact Jews made up the backbone of those movements. Jews were drawn to those movements because they provided both an antidote and a way to give political expression to the Jewish nihilism which came into being when the Enlightenment arrived in the shtetl and destroyed rabbinic Judaism.

Deprived of a coherent worldview, the Jew still had a sense of himself as a member of the chosen race which could now only find expression in revolutionary violence. The best way for the shtetl Jew to bring about tikkun olan was via dynamite and the Colt revolver.


After their rejection of Christ, the Jews confected a religion which is based on the absence of Logos, which is to say, the absence of Being, which is to say, nothing.

If the Eucharist in the tabernacle in the Catholic Church can be termed "the real presence," then what the Jew who rejected Christ worships in his synagogue can be termed "the real absence," which is another word for nothing. The Jew worships nothing; or better, the Jew worships nothingness. The Jew, as Jacques Derrida has pointed out malgre lui but amply in his deconstructive literary criticism, is obsessed with the absence of presence or the presence of absence.

Nihilism leads inevitably to violence because violence, which is a manifestation of the arbitrary and autonomous will, is the only way that the acting person can assert his existence in a world without Logos.

Violence is an extreme form of self-assertion, and only extreme forms of assertion are powerful enough to prevent the slide into non-being to which the Jewish nihilist is exposed by the very fact that he is Jewish.

Nihilism, in other words, leads inevitably to violence. So to get back to the plot of The Believer, when Danny goes to a Jewish bookstore, he meets one of his former Yeshiva classmates, who invites him to the synagogue for services--the same synagogue, it turns out, where Danny planted a bomb, which failed to go off.

This time he plants another bomb, timed to go off during Sabbath services, at which he decides to read the Torah.  When Danny goes to the synagogue, he meets one of his former Yeshiva classmates, who calls him a "Jewish Nazi."

By showing up to davin at the synagogue where he has planted a bomb, Danny the Nazi finally succeeds in killing Danny the Jew. But since he dies reciting the Torah, it is equally accurate to say the Danny the Jew ends up killing Danny the Nazi.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Movie "The Believer" - Nazi Jew as Nihilist"

Galen said (May 24, 2011):

Hi Henry. Thank you for recommending The Believer with Ryan Gosling (Daniel/Jew/skinhead/human being). The day I read your review I
ordered it on ebay. The writing was shocking in its honesty and pointed in its relevancy today. And I read at IMDb that it's based on a true story.

Daniel's speech on how to achieve assimilation, his prompting to "love them," just "love them," put something in perspective for me. I don't
just mean the work we always have in separating Zionists from good, decent Jews, but what that work requires: the opening of one's life to
all people. This is extremely important in light of everything that's been coming to the surface about Jews (good, bad, and horrifying) and how
that has driven some to hate, forgetting that we all stem from the same Creator.

In Daniel's mind he had to redeem himself by saving/honoring those he defaced/betrayed while destroying his own life. Seems our redemption is also about saving and honoring but our suicide is more a suicide of our hate and our separateness.

I have seen it in myself that which labels the other, "the other" and I recognize it for the deception that it is, and give myself wholeheartedly to slaying that lie. Not being
a Jew, one thing I did not understand was the theme throughout about worshiping nothingness. Those people in the temple, surely they
weren't there to worship nothingness, were they? Over the years I have heard Jews believe in God and I've heard Jews believe in nothing. Perhaps
both are true. Anyway, to all the Daniels that may still be out there, suffering the torment of conflicting allegiance, may they give their
allegiance to Love, that will assure a course of action that will afford them some peace.

Tom said (May 11, 2011):

I saw The Believer at the Sun Dance Film Festival 2001. I can remember just being blown away by the film, the script, the directing and especially the the unbelievably outstanding performance by Ryan Gosling. I remember my enthusiasm and predicting to everyone some type of an award for this film because it was absolutely the best picture hands down. I was pretty amazed how the judges at Sundance could have denied this film an award and went through the town saying as much. Since then over the last ten years I find myself referring back to The Believer in my education about the remarkable and confusing Jewish psyche. Does anyone know where we can get this film?

Linda said (May 11, 2011):

I think the most fascinating scene in 'The Believer' is the court ordered sensitivity training for the young Neo- Nazis in which the clueless counsellor introduces Danny and his friends to the a character who appears in the character list as 'the Eternal Jew' as well as members of the Jewish community who have survived the killing fields of W W II. These latter narrate their family history of the Nazi concentration camps. There is true pathos in these accounts.

And these stories of his people do succeed in 'getting through' to Danny.

However, it is 'the Eternal Jew' who rebukes the Jewish couples in the counselling session and tells them 'you are the ones we (he speaks as a rabbin) sacraficed'...'You are all putzes'. (Yiddish for the circumscized foreskin - a term of total contempt.)

He means the Jews who rejected the call to 'return to Israel' issued by the World Jewish Congress in the `930s were sacrificed by the European Zionist elite.

This accords with the view of revisionist scholar Michael Hoffman II in his definitive work on the Torah SheBeal Peh - Judaism Discovered. This is the Talmud which is the basis of Zionism, National Socialism, Bolshevism, monopolistic Capitalism, Republicanism and Masonry. (Kabbalah, on the other hand, is the basis of the New Age and all movements to create a one world religion and spirituality),

To quote Hoffman:

"Why wouldn't rabbis identify with Nazism? Both Judaism and Nazism (National Socialism) begin from the same premise of racial supremacy, as noted by Rev Fr Denis Fahey, 'The Jews as...well as the National Socialists want to impose on God their plans for the glory of their race and nation. They deify their own nation...And both these forces are being used by Satan to inflict disaster on the world. There is laughter in hell when human beings succumb once more to the temptation of the Garden of Eden and put themselves in the place of God, whether the new divinity be the Jewish race or the German race.' (Mystical Body of Christ and the Reorganisation of Society, 1939, ch viii, pp 149-50)

"Hitler did the work of the rabbis and was their occult agent."

The covert Zionist elite financed and organized the Nazi movement in Germany with a view to getting Stalin (whom Rakovsky criticized as a 'Bonapartist') to invade Europe. The Nazis were their instrument for the genocide of the German nation at the hands of the Allies (whom Jewry controlled) and the sacrifice of Jews whom the character in 'The True Believer' contemptuously designates as 'putzes'.

I can see exactly why the Jewish matrons gave this film 5 rotten tomatoes on this score alone.

How long will the human race fall victim to the machinations of this sociopathocracy?

Steven said (May 11, 2011):

Nazis and Zionist- Talmudists having something in common, how ironic.

Both are militantly racist and both discount Christianity as the only path to salvation.
Both consider their respective races as being the master race and the only divine gods on earth.
Both when given free reign inflicted disaster and massacre on mankind.

Its as if the same spirit inspires both groups.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at