Shoah, the Hebrew word for annihilation, is the title of Claude Lanzmann’s documentary film on the Holocaust, and of his book[1] containing the complete text. The film caused a stir in Paris, where it was released this spring, and in the United States, where it was shown for the first time at the New York Film Festival in October.

Not a professional film director but a medical doctor, Lanzmann worked on Shoah for ten years and selected finally nine and a half hours from 350 hours of material. The film brings together the interviews Lanzmann himself conducted with Jewish survivors, their Nazi persecutors, and predominantly Polish onlookers, all of whom speak in front of his camera. It also includes an extremely skillful montage of images connected, in some way or other, to their testimony. The film contains no archival footage but shows...


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