Remembering Claude Lanzmann, Director of “Shoah”

Remembering Claude Lanzmann, Director of “Shoah”

Claude Lanzmann's (November 27, 1925 – July 5, 2018) most renowned work is the Holocaust documentary film Shoah (1985).

"Shoah" is Claude Lanzmann's landmark documentary meditation on the Holocaust. Assembled from footage shot by the filmmaker during the 1970s and 1980s, it investigates the genocide at the level of experience: the geographical layout of the camps and the ghettos; the daily routines of imprisonment; the inexorable trauma of humiliation, punishment, extermination; and the fascinating insights of those who experienced these events first hand. Without dramatic enactment or archival footage, but with extraordinary testimonies, "Shoah" renders the step-by-step machinery of extermination: the minutiae of timetables and finances, the logistics of herding victims into the gas chambers and disposing of the corpses afterward, the bureaucratic procedures which expedited the killing of millions of people without mentioning the words "killing" or "people." Through haunted landscapes and human voice, the past is revealed.

The full documentary can be viewed in Blinken OSA's Research Room, and some of the uncut, filmed material (the interview with Abraham Bomba, "The Barber of Treblinka") is publicly available online.

The documents below are part of Blinken OSA's collection, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty / Western Press Archive / Biographical files.