Cast & Crew
On the anniversary of the death of Judith Trachtenberg, a man, at night, searches for her grave and then tells her story to three comrades: In the nineteenth century, Judith, who is reared in a Jewish ghetto in a part of Poland that belongs to Austria, meets Count Agenor Baranowski during a ball at the home of her father's business associate, Prefect von Wroblewski. After the count saves her from the unwanted attentions of an intoxicated Polish officer, Judith and the count become lovers. Because of the liaison, she is rejected by her father and brother, so she begins to live with the count. After she becomes pregnant, the count fakes a marriage with her, to assuage her guilt. The Jews then, according to their custom, conduct a burial service for Judith and bury a rosebush in her place, as her father is heartbroken. When the count learns that the state of Sachsen-Weimer countenances mixed marriages, he and Judith go there to legalize their union. Their marriage is also validated in Austria by Count Metternich, but when they return and Judith is still not accepted by her people, she drowns herself in a lake. After the story is concluded, as the sun rises, Judith appears to the group in tears before disappearing.
The Yiddish title of this film is Yidishe Tochter. The film was a re-release of a silent film with a talking framing sequence and dubbed Yiddish narration added to the original film. The additional material was shot in New York in 1932. An opening title states that the story is based on an old Jewish legend discovered by a student who carefully researched the romance. Photographer Buddy Harris' onscreen credit reads "Buddy" Harris. The Variety review of a 1933 New York showing states that the Vilna Troupe appeared in the original silent film; however, a Film Daily news item states that the Vilna Troupe appeared in the sequences filmed in 1932. Modern sources state that the original film was the 1920 German film Judith Trachtenberg. That film was produced by Neos-Film and distributed by Doktram-Film, and had its premiere in Berlin in December 1920. It was 7 reels and 2,373 meters in length before censorship cuts. The following credits for that film come from modern sources: Director Henrik Galéen; Script Franz Schulz; Camera Gotthardt Wolf; Art Director Eduard Peter; Art adviser Karl Jacob Hirsch; Jewish adviser Jacob Steinhard; Cast Leontine Kühnberg (Judith Trachtenberg), Ernst Deutch (Her brother), Leonhard Haskel (Her father), Paul Otto (Count Agenor Baranowski), Hermann Vallentin (Prefect von Wroblewski), Max Adalbert, Friedrich Kühne, Ernst Pröckl, Margarete Kupfer, Frieda Richard.
The above plot summary of the original silent film was based on a review of Judith Trachtenberg. However, speculation exists that the silent film May have been a Polish film, which, under the English title of Rachael the Outcast, was submitted to the New York State censors in April 1922. The silent film within A Daughter of Her People has a shot of a signpost in Polish, and modern sources state that the plot of Rachael the Outcast "suggests Judith Trachtenberg." No further information regarding the original silent film has been located.
The added scenes in the 1932 version features actors from the Yiddish Art Players. This version includes scenes that appear at the beginning and end to introduce and conclude the story, in addition to two scenes in the middle of Judith's father coming to see the rabbi, and the rabbi telling another man after Judith's death that it will be alright to say the Kaddish, or the prayer for the dead, and to "sit shiva," or mourn, for Judith.
According to a Variety news item, management for the Avenue Cinema in Pittsburgh, a foreign film theater, bought the film sight unseen as an "all-talker," and they were ready to junk it when they saw what arrived. However, as they had no other booking available, they played the film, and it did the best business there in months.