Holocaust documentor Claude Lanzmann dead at 92

July 6, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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World-renowned filmmaker and director Claude Lanzmann passed away earlier today at the age of 92 in France.

Claude Landmann in 2014

Lanzmann was born in Paris, France in 1925 to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His family went into hiding during World War II. He later joined the French resistance at the young age of 17.

Claude Lanzmann is most known for his non-fiction work entitled Shoah, which has become one of foremost films in Holocaust remembrance since its release in 1985. Shoah marks a tectonic shift in Holocaust cinema—rejecting archival footage, docu-drama, and all other genres, Lanzmann insisted on focusing on testimonies of Holocaust survivors who had been closest to the mass murder of their people. “Shoah is a work about the present, representing the way those who were there live with trauma and the memory of it,” stated Yad Vashem Visual Center Director Liat Benhabib.  “Holocaust films of all genres changed after Shoah, which also served to shine a spotlight on survivor testimony in an unprecedented scope and manner.”

“Claude Lanzmann’s cinematic work left an indelible mark on the collective memory, and shaped the consciousness of the Holocaust of viewers around the world, in these and other generations,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “His departure from us now, along with our recent separation from many Holocaust survivors, marks the end of an era.”

Outgoing Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky added: “Claude Lanzmann was single-handedly responsible for keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive in the hearts and minds of so many around the world.

His magnum opus, Shoah, captured the horrors of that period through the personal testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators alike and was the first time many were confronted with the reality of the Holocaust as told by those who were there. His personal dedication to commemorating the Shoah was unparalleled, and he traveled around the world, even in his later years, to ensure the memory of the victims was never forgotten. For that, we owe him a great debt of gratitude. May his memory be a blessing.”

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah was a monumental contribution to the historical memory of the Holocaust, creating an unprecedented awareness and understanding of the atrocities of the killing machines and the Nazi attempt to exterminate European Jewry.

“Lanzmann was a relentless truth-seeker and master filmmaker who took pains to open the eyes of the world to the greatest crime of contemporary history, and to ensure that its memory never be buried,” Lauder said.

“As the years pass, and the number of survivors among us wanes, Shoah will continue to serve as a critical testimony to the horrors of the Holocaust for future generations to bear witness and remember,” Lauder said.

In 2015, Lanzmann participated in a conference in Jerusalem on the Allied Response to the Holocaust, organised by the World Jewish Congress’ Israel Council on Foreign Relations, where he introduced his film “The Karski Report.”

Claude Lanzmann born in Paris 27 November 1925. Died 5 July 2018


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