Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Srebnik ...
Himself
Michael Podchlebnik ...
Himself
Motke Zaidl ...
Himself
Hanna Zaidl ...
Herself
Jan Piwonski ...
Himself
Itzhak Dugin ...
Himself
Richard Glazer ...
Himself
Paula Biren ...
Herself
Pana Pietyra ...
Herself
Pan Filipowicz ...
Himself
Pan Falborski ...
Himself
Abraham Bomba ...
Himself
Czeslaw Borowi ...
Himself
Henrik Gawkowski ...
Himself
Rudolf Vrba ...
Himself
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Storyline

Claude Lanzmann directed this 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust without using a single frame of archive footage. He interviews survivors, witnesses, and ex-Nazis (whom he had to film secretly since they only agreed to be interviewed by audio). His style of interviewing by asking for the most minute details is effective at adding up these details to give a horrifying portrait of the events of Nazi genocide. He also shows, or rather lets some of his subjects themselves show, that the anti-Semitism that caused 6 million Jews to die in the Holocaust is still alive and well in many people who still live in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere. Written by Gene Volovich <volovich@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Шоа  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,874 (USA) (10 December 2010)

Gross:

$15,642 (USA) (31 December 2010)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With a running length exceeding 9 hours, this is the longest film listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, the book series edited by Steven Jay Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Claude Lanzmann: But a ghetto like Warsaw's, in a great capital, in the heart of the city...
Franz Grassler: That was unusual.
Claude Lanzmann: You say you wanted to maintain the ghetto?
Franz Grassler: Our mission wasn't to annihilate the ghetto, but to keep it alive, to maintain it.
Claude Lanzmann: What does "alive" mean in such conditions?
Franz Grassler: That was the problem. That was the whole problem.
Claude Lanzmann: But people were dying in the streets. There were bodies everywhere?
Franz Grassler: Exactly. That was the paradox.
Claude Lanzmann: You see it as a paradox?
Franz Grassler: I'm sure of it.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Ancient Evil 2: Guardian of the Underworld (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Beyond belief
27 September 2002 | by (new hampshire) – See all my reviews

This documentary tells the story of the Holocaust from a particularly human and "everyman" viewpoint. Claude Lanzmann realized that the victims of this horror were gradually dying off and took the initiative to search out the innocents who had these hidious tattoos on their arms and just talk to them. Not all wanted to be a part of the picture, but Lanzmann had a very unique ability to coax and sometimes browbeat the experiences out of these ordinary people who were subjected to unspeakable horrors. This is a long and extremely painful film to watch. Make no mistake. At the end is a better understanding of man's capacity for cruelty to his fellow man. I believe that is what Lanzmann wanted to pass down to the coming generations.


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