8.4/10
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Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, War | November 1985 (USA)
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2:09 | Trailer
Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director:

Claude Lanzmann

Writer:

Claude Lanzmann
14 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Srebnik ... Himself
Michael Podchlebnik ... Himself (as Michaël Podchlebnik)
Motke Zaïdl Motke Zaïdl ... Himself
Hanna Zaïdl Hanna Zaïdl ... Herself
Jan Piwonski Jan Piwonski ... Himself
Itzhak Dugin Itzhak Dugin ... Himself
Richard Glazar ... Himself (as Richard Glazer)
Paula Biren ... Herself
Helena Pietyra ... Herself (as Pana Pietyra)
Pan Filipowicz ... Himself
Pan Falborski ... Himself
Abraham Bomba Abraham Bomba ... Himself
Czeslaw Borowi Czeslaw Borowi ... Himself
Henrik Gawkowski ... Himself
Rudolf Vrba 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | UK

Language:

German | Hebrew | Polish | Yiddish | French | English

Release Date:

November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Шоа See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,874, 12 December 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$15,642, 2 January 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White | Color (Color / B&W)| Black and White (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With a running time of 9 hours and 26 minutes, this is the longest film listed in the book "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die." See more »

Goofs

Srebnik and Podchlebnik were not the only Jewish survivors of the Chelmno Extermination Camp. Today we know at least 9 by name, but not all survived WWII and/or gave testimonies. Lanzmann probably didn't know then. 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.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best Films of the '80s (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Mandolinen um Mitternacht
Performed by Peter Alexander (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An important document
6 September 2006 | by KaserynofthegyreSee all my reviews

I understand the criticism of SHOAH. It fails in a number of things one would normally expect a documentary to deliver. It spends little or no time establishing the causes of the holocaust, nor does it even make a pretence of being an impartial document of what happened. This is an opportunity for the victims to describe what happened to them in order to ensure the world never forgets. The decision to secretly film some of the Nazi guards and camp officials grates as it deviates from this agenda and throws the partisan stance of the filmmaker into the spotlight. He justifies this on the basis of who they are and what they did - but that is a cop-out. He betrayed the integrity of the film by lying to them and proves little by it. That they have spent the years since the war ended rationalising their behaviour to themselves is hardly a surprise - if they hadn't been able to do that they would not have survived anyway. Having said all that SHOAH remains a remarkable testament from those who were there and saw and felt such things as none of us could begin to imagine. As such it is an important work that should be on every school syllabus. The people of the world who do not know, or choose not to believe, about the holocaust (and there appear to be lots of them) need to see this.


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