“France Télévisions had a brilliant idea when they decided to air ‘Shoah’ in prime time”


SIt premiered for the first time in France on April 30, 1985, in three copies in two theaters in Paris. the holocaust of Claude Lanzmann It is a unique documentary of the river in the world. Nine and a half hours long, this film, with no small archive footage, tells the story of the systematic extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, through the testimonies of survivors, their executioners and Polish compatriots near the Auschwitz camp.

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Made between 1973 and 1981, filmed between IsraelGermany and Poland, the result of the enormous research and location work of the protagonists, in particular six ex-Nazis interviewed in front of a hidden camera for three, the holocaust (“catastrophe” in Hebrew) describes the unspeakable and stark genocidal brutality that decimated nearly 6 million Jews on the Old Continent between 1939 and 1945. the holocaust It received an honorary César in 1986 and, in 2023, it was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register, which is responsible for protecting documentary heritage around the world.ALSO READ Edith Bruck, Holocaust survivor: “We have learned nothing from the past”

It premiered on television in 1987, on TF1, especially in 2015 on the France 3 channel and in 2018 on the Arte channel, immediately after the death of its director, it will show the film again this evening. French Televisions On the occasion of the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, but also in a context that is more worrying than ever in the face of anti-Jewish hatred. Meanwhile, anti-Semitic acts quadrupled in 2023 In France and the terrorist movement Hamas has grown by 1,000% since the attacks against Israel, October 7, 2023explained the presidency of the public service, “Why we broadcast the holocaust » and published in columns Gallery This Sunday, the monument of need to be shown again Claude Lanzmann in prime time.

Writer widow and beneficiary of the Claude and Félix Lanzmann Association (ACFL), dedicated to preserving the memory of her late husband, Dominique Lanzmann welcomes this new opportunity to watch or re-watch the film, and her association will have it. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of its release in 1985 through various events. Available in bookstores from January 27 in David Reinharc editions, the collective work of the title The original event of the Shoah also inaugurates a new collection called The Lanzmann Moment. Directed by Dominique Lanzmann and Jean-Jacques Moscovitz, it will collect texts on the work of the tireless killer of negationism, signed by historians, teachers, collaborators of the filmmaker and characters such as Arnaud Desplechin, Philippe Val or Richard Prasquier.

Point: How is a new show made? the holocaust In prime time, this time on France 2, does it stand out, do you think?

Dominique Lanzmann: The president of France Télévisions, Delphine Ernott, had a great idea, obviously she had to make a quick decision, Why Not, the company that manages the rights to the film, sent me an email on January 5th asking for my permission, and I had to respond very quickly. For my part, I am focused on various memories around 2025 the holocaust and Claude, so I was pleasantly surprised by this request. I accepted this new broadcast as well as availability the holocaust for a month in the next day repetition.

Education streaming on the public platform Lumni Teachingfrom there we can also access six summaries the holocaust (a three-hour program in total) which Claude selected in 2001 to show in high schools. show me the holocaust It seems more urgent than ever to explain exactly what a genocide is, to explain it to the public again, once upon a time. South Africa abuses this allegation Against Israel and that so much fake news has been circulating since October 7th. I rely heavily on registration the holocaust In the UNESCO Remembrance of the World register, to be able to display excerpts in Arab-Muslim countries as well.

Production and financing the holocaust For Claude Lanzmann in particular they were a colossal project…

In fact, it all started in 1973 with a request from Alouf Hareven, the director of the department of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They really liked Claude’s documentary Why Israel? and he would not talk about the Shoah but wanted to commission a work would be Shoah. Claude tells all this very well in his book Patagonian hare. This proposal made me think about it all night, I remember going back and forth… before finally saying yes early in the morning.

Above all, it was the preparatory work of the film that took so many years, then the tracking of the ex-Nazis and finally the assembly in 1981; As for the filming, it was between 1978 and 1979. Claude worked closely with his assistants Irena Steinfeldt and Corinna Coulmas, as well as historians Raul Hilberg, Yehuda Bauer and Saul Friedländer. They explored many thematic avenues that were ultimately abandoned to focus on the death machine. The shoot was quite fast, with a sense of urgency as Claude had the impression that the survivors were disappearing. He was well aware of the importance of what he was doing.

Every time the film is broadcast it is essential that new generations discover it. I’m thinking of teenagers in particular, because it’s at that age that we’re born psychologically.

Would you like the younger ones, especially affected by misinformation on social media, especially on TikTok, to be in front of the station this evening with their parents?

Of course. Every time the film is broadcast it is essential that new generations discover it. I’m thinking of teenagers in particular, because it’s at that age that we’re born psychologically. I hope the teachers will talk about it today, and the parents too. the holocaust a work of art and historical archive at the same time, it is a universal and timeless work of art that will always be relevant today, its educational virtues are extraordinary. I have watched it dozens of times and every time I watch it again I discover something new.

His review is all the more important now that we are in a middle age where the last survivors of the death camps are in their nineties and centenarians… We will have to firmly remind all young people of the appalling level of hatred. It all involves educating young people before they reach the age of 20, and Claude understood this by traveling from suburban high schools to demonstrate. the holocaust 20 years ago, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education.

In the press release about the show the holocaust this evening on France 2, Jack Lange recalled that when he was Minister of Culture he decided to “give Claude Lanzmann, with the consent of François Mitterrand, the production of an unprecedented film about the concentration camps”. It also calls for the reintroduction of the state mandate system for “such cinematographic and audio-visual adventures”. What do you think?

It is true that he helped Claude a lot in certain moments, but towards the end the holocaust in fact, in 1982, Claude was in the middle of the Ford edition. is about the holocaust as if it were a state mandate: yes, but initially from the State of Israel (it eventually withdrew from the project after the Yom Kippur War, Editor’s note). Furthermore, he certainly did not, as his press release states, support Claude to a hundred lyceums when he was Minister of National Education in 2000. In a few high schools, yes, and distributed 35,000 DVDs of the film.

Jack Lang’s exaggerations aren’t so bad. What you have to remember is that he helped Claude a lot and wrote me a nice letter in support of the candidacy. the holocaust In the UNESCO Memory of the World register. Today, if the State wants to commission works, why not, but Claude did not live only on behalf of the French State, far from it, that’s for sure. In twelve years, sponsors have come and gone, tired and weary, because the holocaust it remains exceptional in any case and from every point of view.

What projects are you working on as we approach the triple anniversaries of 2025 (January 27: 80 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau; April 30: 40 years since its liberation? the holocaust; November 27: 100 years since the birth of Claude Lanzmann)?

I work with UNESCO on several projects related to film education. New special edition of the Fayard booklet the holocaust is underway A documentary on Claude Lanzmann is also being produced for the 2025 Berlinale and perhaps, I hope, a retrospective at the Cinémathèque française. A lot will happen.

Shoah, by Claude Lanzmann. It will be broadcast in its entirety on France 2 on Tuesday, January 30 at 9:10 p.m.

More information on the website Claude Lanzmann


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