Over the weekend, the wife and I finished watching Shoah (1985), the 9±hour Claude Lanzmann’s documentary on the Holocaust. We didn’t watch it all in one sitting of course, but rather over a two-week period.
We’d heard from others that it was “boring,” but Ebert’s essay on it when he placed it on his Great Movies list intrigued us. I have to say we found it fascinating.
For example, we learned that not all Jews were shipped packed in cattle cars a la Schindler’s List. While many Polish and other Eastern European Jews had heard rumors of extermination and were packed in, many times Jews from Western Europe – France, the Netherlands – had never heard the rumors and were sent on regular trains complete with assigned seat numbers, dining cars etc. They had no idea what was awaiting them. And here’s a detail I found fascinating: One railroad or train-station worker related seeing one Jew on one sucj trains actually get off the train to go buy something in the station! And when the train started to pull out without him, he actually ran after it to catch it! :eek:
Has anyone else seen this? I’ve read that Lanzmann worked five years on it in the early 1980s, that he wanted to film many of these people – Jewish survivors, former Nazi officials and regular citizens alike – before they were all gone. I don’t see how anyone who watches this could even for a moment entertain the notion that the Holocaust never occurred.