On October 16, 1943 over a thousand Jews were sent from Rome to the German deathcamps. In 1985 Claude Lanzmann released a nine-hour documentary film called Shoah, which he prefers not to call a documentary. He spent eleven years interviewing witnesses, participants and survivors of the atrocities. The film is widely condsidered one of the best films made about the Shoah, as well as one of the most powerful documentaries ever made. The film has recently been re-released on dvd.
Film critic Fred Camper had this to say in 1987 about Lanzmann’s “desire to give an ‘everlasting name’ to the Jews who were exterminated. But how does one name an absence? How can one imagine, let alone represent, that lost future, the unconceived and unborn children of those that were killed, those future generations that never were? Around this terrible impossibility Shoah swirls. “
Shoah, not holocaust.
Marc Alan Coen, also in the NEWYORKERS section of this blog.