“We should not look for a vaccine against today’s anti-Semitism in this film”

pscheduled France 2 in prime time and in its entirety from his 9:30 a.m., the holocaust By Claude Lanzmann Since its premiere in 1985, it has been considered the definitive film about the systematic extermination of the Jews in Europe between 1939 and 1945. A documentary consisting only of the testimonies of the survivors of the Polish and German death camps, but also the testimonies of former officials or executioners. This journey to the end of the night of souls in the service of Hitler’s genocidal madness, all filmed in the present, is a capital work to decipher the Nazis’ methodical organization of the genocide of the Jews.

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It has been registered in the cinematographic heritage since 2023 UNESCO Memory of the World, shown briefly in French high schools since 2001 at the initiative of Jack Lang (then Minister of National Education), the film has toured for almost 40 years, from the United States to China, Japan, Turkey and even Iran. After a first broadcast on TF1 in 1987, they were then played on France 3 in 2015 and Arte in 2018. the holocaust it is offered this evening on France 2, on the occasion of the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp (January 27).

for the presidency of French Televisionsin a text published this weekend explaining his intentions La Tribune Sunday, It is also a response to the “poison of relativism” and negationism, in the context after October 7. explosion of anti-Semitic acts in France. (Re)show the holocaust to the largest number, to offer this gruesome and unique reminder of the true definition of genocide in public would therefore be a wake-up call to conscience. Urgent response to deployment fake news and relativist thinking since Hamas’s barbaric attack on Israeli civilians.

“We are showing the film that was not originally planned, to show how much the duty to remember resonates in the present. What worries me is the relativism around the memory of the Shoah”, said Stéphane Sitbon-Gomez, the program director of France Télévisions, in the columns. Parisian “The massacres of October 7 worry me: when we find excuses for brutality, there is no limit to human cruelty. »

Seine-Saint-Denis professor, associate professor of history, responsible for the Shoah Memorial training and author of the essay Leaving the Age of Victimhood: Towards a New Approach to the Shoah and Mass Crimes (Odile Jacob, 2020), Iannis Roder However, it raises serious doubts about the effectiveness of the expansion the holocaust to fight against what has been called the new antisemitism for more than twenty years. Hatred of the Jew, mainly through dehumanizationIsrael – Cultivated by Islamist movements in France and abroad and against it, according to our interlocutor, the virtues of education the holocaust they must be questioned.

Point: What is broadcasting? the holocaust On France 2 this Tuesday in prime time?

Iannis Roder: My first reaction is to say that this is a great decision the holocaust it is an extraordinary film. Perhaps the greatest film about the history of the Shoah. But above all, the question we must ask ourselves is the following: what is the goal that France 2 seeks? It’s a matter of reminding the public what genocide is and what was Jewish in 1939-1945, what were the modalities, what was the violence, in which field did the whole of Europe ultimately participate in this genocide: so yes. , this expansion is necessary and healthy, even more so since October 7 and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a certain tendency to invoke that word without justification. the holocaust it shows what genocide is. But we can also think that France 2 sees in its broadcast a way to fight against the return of anti-Semitism and, in that, we can question its effectiveness.


Because Nazi anti-Semitism is not the same as the new anti-Semitism targeting Jews in France and other parts of the world today. This active and mutating anti-Semitism is primarily the result of Islamism, the main threat to Jews today. And, along with it, the useful idiots who become supporters of those who act in the name of a misguided racism and an angry anti-Zionism. This current anti-Semitism is progressive anti-Semitism, it involves the reverse and Israel, and thus in reality the Jews, would be the new Nazis. They are accused of being guilty of racism, apartheid and even genocide, as some political figures in France continue to tweet, such as LFI MPs, and South Africa more recently. In this worldview, if the Israelis, and with them the Jews who support them, namely the vast majority of Jews, are the new Nazis, then the Palestinians become the new Jews.

We should not look for a vaccine against today’s anti-Semitism in the film “Shoah”, and even beyond, in the history of the Shoah.

And this reality limits the scope the holocaust neara certain audience?

Yes, the effectiveness of the expansion the holocaust is reduced, because if its dissemination is not accompanied by the works of the historical perspective of the teachers, there is a very real danger that the film will be of little use in the defense of the Jews and in the fight against anti-Semitism today. Some may also use the message that the Jews are doing to the Palestinians today to spread what the Nazis did to them yesterday. There is such confusion in the minds of some people, the ideological prism is sometimes so strong that the memory of the Shoah is now turned against the Jews. The memory of the Shoah, which has taken other forms, other faces, and is carried by others who are not Nazis or the extreme right, is not effective in my opinion.

Do you still see any virtue in the film broadcast on France 2?

The Shoah is an unprecedented historical event and the interest of Lanzmann’s film is not only to reflect on the contemporaneity of this event, but also how it was possible in the 20th century.e century and what were its modalities. It is a very special film, I always discover new elements every time I watch it, I show excerpts from it to the students and the teachers I train, deciphering the images and the story with them. . It is precisely a film that is difficult for teenagers to access and requires educational analysis.

But again we don’t have to look inside the holocaust film, and beyond, in the history of the Shoah, today’s vaccine against anti-Semitism. It is in the name of the memory of the Shoah that people attack the Jews, but also see Israel as the last avatar of racist colonialism. The broadcast the holocaust, it is very good but unfortunately I doubt the educational virtue of this masterpiece in the current fight against anti-Semitism. We have never taught the history of the Shoah so much and yet we have not had so many anti-Semitic acts in France since 1945. Focusing on past anti-Semitism sometimes blinds us to present-day anti-Semitism, whose agents are not the same and which operate by different mechanisms. Many of today’s anti-Semites are in the name of racism. They are convinced that they are on the side of good.

the holocaustBy Claude Lanzmann (duration: 09:30): will be broadcast on France 2 this Tuesday, January 30, at 21:10. Available next day on france.tv for 30 days.

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