An interview with a WWII Red Cross official who wrote a glowing report on a Jewish ghetto-cum-death camp.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Yehuda Lerner, Claude Lanzmann
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A place: Theresienstadt. A unique place of propaganda which Adolf Eichmann called the "model ghetto", designed to mislead the world and Jewish people regarding its real nature, to be the ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Benjamin Murmelstein, Claude Lanzmann
Shoah (1985)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaidl
Tsahal (1994)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A documentary about the Israel Defense Forces.

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Ehud Barak, Claude Lanzmann, Amos Oz
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The young and patriotic student Demachy joins the French army in 1914 to defend his country. But he and his comrades soon experience the terrifying, endless trench war in Champagne, where ... See full summary »

Director: Raymond Bernard
Stars: Pierre Blanchar, Gabriel Gabrio, Charles Vanel
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks.

Director: King Hu
Stars: Feng Hsu, Chun Shih, Ying Bai
Dry Summer (1963)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A tobacco farmer tries to ruin his competitors crops by diverting water to his property.

Director: Metin Erksan
Stars: Erol Tas, Hülya Koçyigit, Ulvi Dogan
Le rapport Karski (TV Movie 2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An extended interview with Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski, taken from Claude Lanzmann's epic 9-hour documentary "Shoah".

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Jan Karski, Claude Lanzmann
Lights and Shadows (Video 2008)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

At the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Israel, Claude Lanzmann made an interview of Ehud Barak, on March 1st, 2008.

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Ehud Barak, Claude Lanzmann
Israel, Why (1973)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A documentary examining life in Israel twenty-five years after the birth of the state.

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Stars: Schmuel Birger, Gad Granach, Claude Lanzmann
Trances (1981)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The group's "Trances" are our equivalent of "soul music", our irrationality. I followed the example of the Nass El Ghiwane themselves: I went back to the roots. They draw their music from ... See full summary »

Director: Ahmed El Maanouni
Stars: Larbi Batma, Nass-El Ghiwane, Abderrahman Paco
Miss Oyu (1951)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Shinnosuke is introduced to Shizu as a prospective marriage partner, but he falls in love with her widowed sister Oyu. Convention forbids Oyu to marry because she has to raise her son as ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Nobuko Otowa, Yûji Hori
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Maurice Rossel ...
Himself
...
Himself / Interviewer
Edit

Storyline

Claude Lanzmann interviews Maurice Rossel, a Swiss official of the International Red Cross during World War II, who wrote a favorable report of Theresienstadt, a "model" Jewish ghetto that was in reality a death camp. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

23 September 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Visitor from the Living  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Follows Shoah (1985) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A bracing 65-minute interview with a Red Cross official who toured a death camp ... and found it favorable.
21 May 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Claude Lanzmann filmed this interview in 1979 to be part of his Holocaust documentary, "Shoah" (1985), but couldn't fit it into the overall structure of the film. Nearly two decades later, this interview became its own documentary, a sixty-five-minute postscript to the massive "Shoah." It stands on its own.

Lanzmann interviews Maurice Rossel, a Swiss official of the International Red Cross during World War II. Rossel first talks about his unofficial visit to the Auschwitz camp where the skeletal prisoners looked on him as if he were a "visitor from the living." Then he describes his visit to Theresienstadt.

Theresienstadt was a farce, a death camp for Jews tricked up as a model ghetto. Rossel's job was to inspect the camp and issue a report on what he found. He found it largely favorable.

Rossel comments on how unpleasantly he was struck by the obvious VIP status of the Jewish prisoners, then how unstomachably servile and docile they seemed. He says that despite ample opportunity no one slipped him a note, whispered a message, or did anything to indicate the ghetto was a sham.

After coaxing Rossel's side of the story, Lanzmann gives his own. According to his research, Rossel's visit was carefully planned. The prisoners were rehearsed for months on how to behave and what to say. Prisoners were forbidden to salute a Nazi during the one-day visit, an otherwise mandatory obeisance. A bandstand and a children's playground were erected immediately before the visit and torn down immediately afterward.

Lanzmann tells Rossel how his report conflicted with the facts. Rossel reported the prisoners were properly fed when in fact they were starving. He estimated the number of deaths as dozens per day (as if that weren't enough) when in fact it was thousands. His only criticism was the overcrowding. He didn't know the half of it: five-thousand prisoners were removed to Auschwitz and executed shortly before his arrival.

A discussion period followed the screening I attended, and one man said he found Lanzmann to be insufferably smug. The Nazis, he said, were good at fooling people; surely they would have conned Lanzmann himself had he been the one to tour Theresienstadt. Another man reminded him of a key moment in the interview: Lanzmann asks Rossel if, knowing everything he does now, he would have written the same report. Rossel says yes, he would have.

He was willfully blind during the tour and remained so decades later.

Little can be said for this documentary as a film. We see a talking head occasionally interspersed with traveling shots of Theresienstadt as it looked decades after the war. This is just an unadorned look at the machinery of evil – as represented by one cog.


13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Un vivant qui passe (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?