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Encyclopedia > Shoah (film)
Shoah
Directed by Claude Lanzmann
Starring Simon Srebnik
Michael Podchlebnik
Motke Zaidl
Hanna Zaidl
Jan Piwonski
Cinematography Dominique Chapuis
Jimmy Glasberg
William Lubtchansky
Editing by Ziva Postec
Anna Ruiz
Distributed by New Yorker Films
Released 23 October 1985
Running time 544 min
Language English / German / Hebrew / Polish / Yiddish / French
IMDb profile

Shoah is a nine-hour documentary film completed by Claude Lanzmann in 1985 about the Holocaust (or Shoah). The film, unlike most historical documentaries, does not feature reenactments or historical photos; instead it consists of interviews with people who were involved in various ways in the Holocaust, and visits to different places they discuss. Claude Lanzmann is a Paris-based filmmaker and professor of documentary film at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland where he conducts a summer workshop. ... October 23 is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 69 days remaining. ... This article is about the year. ... The hour (symbol: h) is a unit of time. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Claude Lanzmann is a Paris-based filmmaker and professor of documentary film at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland where he conducts a summer workshop. ... This article is about the year. ... Selection at the Auschwitz ramp in 1944, where the German Nazis chose whom to kill immediately and whom to use as slave labor or for medical experimentation, such as those of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. ...


Although loosely structured, the film is concerned mainly with four topics: Chełmno, where gas was first used to exterminate Jews in vans; the death camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau; and the Warsaw ghetto, with testimonies from survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators. The CheÅ‚mno extermination camp was a Nazi extermination camp that was situated 70 km from Łódź near a small village called CheÅ‚mno nad Nerem (Kulmhof an der Nehr, in German), in Greater Poland (which was, in 1939, annexed and incorporated into Germany under the name of Reichsgau Wartheland). ... Treblinka is a small village in the Mazowieckie voivodship (province) of Poland. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... The Ghetto Heroes Memorial The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of the Jewish ghettos established by Nazi Germany in General Government during the Holocaust in World War II. In the three years of its existence, starvation, disease and deportations to concentration camps and extermination camps dropped the population of the...


The sections on Treblinka include testimony from Abraham Bomba, who survived as a barber, and a rare interview with Franz Suchomel, an SS officer who worked at the camp who reveals intricate details of the camp's gas chamber. Suchomel apparently agreed to provide Lanzmann with some anonymous background details; Lanzmann instead secretly filmed his interview, with the help of assistants and a hidden camera. There is also an interesting account from Henrik Gawkowsky, who drove one of the trains while heavily plied with Nazi vodka.


Testimonies on Auschwitz are provided by Rudolph Vrba, who escaped from the camp before the end of the war, Filip Muller, who worked in an incinerator burning the bodies from the gassings, and Richard Glazer. There are also accounts from various Polish locals, who saw the trains heading daily to the camp and leaving empty; they quickly guessed the fate of those on board. Rudolf Vrba, born Walter Rosenberg in Slovakia, 1924, was one of only five Jews known to have escaped from the Auschwitz death camp. ...


In regards to Chełmno, the only two Jews to survive are both interviewed: Simon Srebnick, who was forced to sing military songs to amuse the Nazis; and Mordechai Podchiebnick. There is also a secretly-filmed interview with Franz Schalling, who was a guard.


The Warsaw ghetto is discussed towards the end of the film, and the appalling conditions there are described by Jan Karski, who worked for the Polish government-in-exile, and Franz Grassler, a Nazi administrator who liased with Jewish leaders. Memories from Jewish participants in the Warsaw uprising conclude the documentary. Before a wall map of the Warsaw Ghetto at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jan Karski recalls his secret 1942 missions into the Nazi prison-city-within-a-city. ... Combatants Poland Germany Commanders Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, Antoni Chruściel, Tadeusz Pełczyński Erich von dem Bach, Rainer Stahel, Heinz Reinefarth, [Bronislav Kaminski] Strength 50,000 troops 25,000 troops Casualties 18,000 killed, 12,000 wounded, 15,000 taken prisoner 250,000 civilians killed 10,000 killed...


Though the film has generally been highly praised, some Poles have criticized Lanzmann, claiming he was selective in his use of Polish subjects, that he mistranslated some dialogue, and that he edited the film to create the impression that Poles willingly co-operated with the Nazis, cutting out anything which contradicted this view. The term National Socialism has been used in self-description by a number of different political groups and ideologies, some of which have no connection with the Nazis; see National socialism (disambiguation). ...


The complete text of the film was published in 1995.


Archetypes in Shoah

Shoah consists of many hours of interviews with witnesses of the Holocaust. Lanzmann's style of interviewing, and his selection of interview footage divides his witnesses into three distinct archetypes: survivor, bystander and perpetrator. Lanzmann makes an effort to represent each archetype quite differently.


Survivors are those who directly experienced the persecution and horror of the Holocaust, and survived to tell their story. All of the survivors that Lanzmann interviews are Jewish. Lanzmann uses these survivors to present a historical record. Many survivors give long, detached descriptions of the events that they witnessed. For example, in Part 4 we hear Filip Müller and Rudolf Vrba describe the liquidation of the family camp at Auschwitz. Their testimonies make a historical narrative. Other survivors tell of their own personal experiences of the Holocaust. Muller does not just describe the gassing of the prisoners from the family camp; he also talks about what the prisoners said to him, and describes the experience of going into the gas chamber himself. This testimony is a personal narrative. Lanzmann's survivors react emotionally to what they witnessed. Muller breaks down as he recalls the prisoners breaking into song while being forced into the gas chamber. The camera pulls in uncomfortably close, to capture every detail of his distress. Lanzmann even encourages his witnesses to act out their testimony. In Part 3 Lanzmann interviews Abraham Bomba, a barber at Auschwitz, while he cuts hair in a barber's shop. He breaks down while describing how a barber friend of his came across his wife while cutting hair outside the gas chamber. Again, the camera captures his anguish. In this way, Bomba's personal narrative is unspoken as well as spoken. Eyewitness Auschwitz : Three Years in the Gas Chambers Filip Müller (born 1922, Sered, Czechoslovakia) was one of very few prisoners to have survived Auschwitz, the largest Nazi German extermination camp. ... Dr. Rudolf Vrba Rudolf Rudi Vrba (11 September 1924 – March 27, 2006) was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia in Canada. ... Auschwitz, in English, commonly refers to the Auschwitz concentration camp complex built near the town of Oświęcim, by Nazi Germany during World War II. Rarely, it may refer to the Polish town of Oświęcim (called by the Germans Auschwitz) itself. ...


Bystanders are those who were present during the events of the Holocaust without directly being part of it. Some were peripherally involved, while others were witnesses. All of the bystanders that Lanzmann interviews are Polish. Lanzmann procures personal narratives from these bystanders. He interviews many of them in the same way that he interviews his witnesses. In Part 1 he takes Pan Falborski, a Polish bystander, on a train to Treblinka while we watch his reaction. Lanzmann also drives him along the streets of Wlodawa in a car while he talks about the Jews who used to live in the passing houses. In Part 4, Jan Karski, a Polish bystander who visited the Warsaw ghetto, breaks down and walks out as soon as he tries to remember. A few of Lanzmann's bystanders give historical narratives. In Part 2 Falborski talks about the gas vans and the mass graves. Karski returns and gives a detailed, if emotional, description of the ghetto. However, Lanzmann is less interested in the historical narrative of his bystanders; in fact, with his bystanders he seems to be trying to build his own historical narrative. Lanzmann interviews many bystanders in public groups. He does not ask for their names or for detailed testimony. In many of these interviews he seems to be establishing a wilful ignorance on the part of the Poles. Of many bystanders he asks what they saw or heard, and whether they knew what was going on in the death camps. His questions reveal how little anyone saw or heard. They also reveal that people knew some of what was going on, but they did nothing. Lanzmann also seems to be trying to establish Polish anti-Semitism. In Part 2 he talks to a group of Polish women in Grabow. Under his questions, they reveal that they did not like the Jewesses that used to live in Grabow because they were rich and beautiful and did not have to work. Another bystander, a man, reveals that he is happy that the Jews are gone, but would rather they had gone to Israel voluntarily rather than being exterminated. In an interview outside a Catholic church, with Simon Srebnik present, he encourages bystanders to talk about the Holocaust in terms of justice for the biblical killing of Jesus by the Jews. With these interviews, Lanzmann seems to be trying to establish Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Treblinka is a small village in the Mazowieckie voivodship (province) of Poland. ... External link http://www. ... Before a wall map of the Warsaw Ghetto at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jan Karski recalls his secret 1942 missions into the Nazi prison-city-within-a-city. ... The Ghetto Heroes Memorial The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of the Jewish ghettos established by Nazi Germany in General Government during the Holocaust in World War II. In the three years of its existence, starvation, disease and deportations to concentration camps and extermination camps dropped the population of the...


Perpetrators are those who were directly involved in perpetrating the Holocaust. All of the perpetrators that Lanzmann interviews are German. From these perpetrators, Lanzmann establishes a historical narrative. They give detailed, detached accounts of the workings of the Holocaust. In Part 2, Franz Schalling describes the workings of Chełmno where he served as a security guard. In Parts 1, 2 and 3, Franz Suchomel talks about the workings of Treblinka where he was an SS officer. In Part 3, Walter Steir, a former Nazi bureaucrat, describes the workings of the railways. Sometimes their testimony becomes more personal, but Lanzmann is uninterested. Schalling expresses sympathy for his Jewish victims, but Lanzmann moves him on. Lanzmann is also concerned with establishing their knowledge of the Holocaust. Many of his perpetrators assert their ignorance of what was going on. Suchomel claims that he did not know about extermination at Treblinka until he arrived there. Stier claims to have been too busy to find out that his trains were transporting Jews to their deaths. In each case, Lanzmann challenges their assertions of ignorance with relentless questions.


References

  • Felman, S. "Film as Witness: Claude Lanzmann's Shoah" in Hartman, G. (ed.) Holocaust Remembrance: The Shapes of Memory, Blackwell, 1994
  • Hirsch, M. and Spitzer, L. "Gendered Translations: Claude Lanzmann's Shoah" in Cooke, M. and Woollacott, A. (eds.) Gendering War Talk, Princeton University Press, 1993
  • Lanzman, C. Shoah, New Yorker Films, 1985
  • Loshitzky, Y. "Holocaust Others: Spielberg's Schindler's List verses Lanzman's Shoah" in Loshitzky, Y. (ed.) Spielberg's Holocaust: Critical Perspectives on Schindler's List, Indiana University Press, 1997
  • Nowicki, S. The defamation of the Poles, The Book Printer, Maryborough, Victoria, 1989

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Shoah (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1635 words)
The film, unlike most historical documentaries, does not feature reenactments or historical photos; instead it consists of interviews with people who were involved in various ways in the Holocaust, and visits to different places they discuss.
Although loosely structured, the film is concerned mainly with four topics: Chełmno, where gas was first used to exterminate Jews in vans; the death camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau; and the Warsaw ghetto, with testimonies from survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators.
Though the film has generally been highly praised, some Poles have criticized Lanzmann, claiming he was selective in his use of Polish subjects, that he mistranslated some dialogue, and that he edited the film to create the impression that Poles willingly co-operated with the Nazis, cutting out anything which contradicted this view.
Shoah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (148 words)
Shoah or Ha Shoah (literally denoting a "catastrophic upheaval") is the Hebrew term for The Holocaust.
Shoah is a documentary film by Claude Lanzmann based on some events of the Holocaust.
The Shoah Foundation is devoted to recording the testimonies of survivors of Shoah.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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