Scrapbookpages Blog

December 1, 2012

Claude Lanzmann to receive a lifetime achievement award at Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013

I learned about the latest honor which will be given to Claude Lanzmann, the maker of the documentary film, Shoah, from this news article in The Hollywood Reporter.  The following quote is from the article:

Shoah, a nine-and-a-half hour documentary, was groundbreaking in that it used no archival footage, being composed  primarily of interviews with Holocaust survivors and visits to concentration camp sites. The film screened in the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival in 1986, where it won the Caligari film prize and the FIPRESCI film critics honor. Shoah went on to win numerous other accolades, including the Flaherty Documentary Award at the BAFTAs and best documentary honors from the National Film Critics Association.

During the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (aka the Berlinale), which runs Feb. 7 to Feb. 17, 2013, Lanzmann will be honored with a lifetime achievement honor, the Berlinale Golden Bear.

Golden Bear award given at Berlin Film Festival

Golden Bear award given at Berlin Film Festival

Bears are a symbol of Berlin because the Coat of Arms for the city state of Berlin has a Bear on it.  When I visited Berlin in October 2002, painted bears could be seen all over the city; the painted bear in the front of the Hotel Adlon is shown in my photo below.

Painted bear in front of Hotel Adlon, 2002

Painted bear in front of Hotel Adlon, October 2002

The CODOH website currently has an article about Claude Lanzmann, written by Bradley R. Smith, which you can read in full here.  The article includes a quote from Lanzmann which mentions the stones at Treblinka.  My photo below shows the stones at Treblinka, which are in a symbolic cemetery.

Stones at Treblinka represent a symbolic cemetery

Stones at Treblinka represent a symbolic cemetery

This quote is from the article written by Bradley R. Smith, which is on the CODOH website:

Claude Lanzmann’s Shoa (sic) may be seen as the masterpiece of Holocaust documentaries. But if that is so, then it is also the clearest declaration of bankruptcy ever delivered. After all, in his entire 91/2 hours of documentation, Lanzmann doesn’t show us any documentary or physical proof for the claims he and his witnesses make. Most of these 91/2 hours are actually silent sequences of railway tracks, stones, buildings, and countrysides, whose relation to the ‘Holocaust’ claims exists only through suggestion and imagination. He himself made his brainwashing technique pretty clear when he stated:[13]

“As a result of our filming the stones at Treblinka from all angles, they have finally spoken.”

With the stones of Treblinka, Lanzmann meant the field of stones erected after the war on the area that once was the Treblinka camp. Of course, those stones cannot speak about anything that happened before they were placed there. The stones in the soil underneath this memorial, however, could speak, if only one would ask them to: A thorough geo-physical examination of this entire area could confirm still today, if the Polish forensic investigations of 1946 were correct, that is, whether or not the soil in and around Treblinka was ever disturbed by massive mass graves and huge scale open-air incinerations.

But those stones Claude Lanzmann would never want to speak out, and probably for good reasons, since it would destroy his life’s work and shatter his firm beliefs. It was in 1994 that Claude Lanzmann explained why he did not include any documentary or forensic evidence in his movie, but restricted himself to psychologically impressive, but scientifically untenable witness statements:[14]

“There is not one second of archival material in Shoah because it is not the way I work or think, and besides it does not exist. […] If I had found an existing film-a secret film because that was forbidden-shot by an SS and showing how 3,000 Jews, men, women and children, were dying together, asphyxiated in the gas chamber of Krema 2 in Auschwitz, not only would I have not shown it, but I would have destroyed it. I cannot say why. It goes by itself.”

If it sounds like the statement of an imbecile, as Serge Thion has put it,[15] then read what Lanzmann had to say about his own movie Shoa in 1997:[16]

“Not understanding has been my iron law.”

So what is Shoa all about? It is about—NOTHING. Master Lanzmann himself explained it frankly:[17]

“It was necessary to make this film from nothing, without archival documents, to invent everything.”

“It is therefore a case of making a film with traces of traces of traces, […]. With nothing one comes back to nothing.”[18]

André Glucksmann was a bit more sophisticated when he explained that this movie is not about what happened, but about what could have happened, what would have been possible, what is imaginable:[19]

“The strength of this film is not in showing what took place—in fact it refrains from doing that—but in showing the possibility of what took place.”

I have not seen Claude Lanzmann’s documentary.  I wanted to buy it when I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, but when I found out that it sells for over $300, I changed my mind.

I don’t blame the German people, nor criticize them, for constantly bowing down to the Jews today.  Germany is still occupied and this is their way of preserving all those reconstructed buildings that had been destroyed by Allied bombs in World War II.

For example, the photo below shows the bomb damage to the city of Weimar, the home of Goethe and Schiller.  Why was the historic city of Weimar bombed?  The only reason to bomb Weimar was to destroy historic buildings and murder German civilians, the same reason that Dresden and Nuremberg were bombed.

Bomb damage in Weimar, Germany during World War II

Bomb damage in Weimar, Germany during World War II

Note the building on the left side of the photo above.  The same building is shown in the photo below, after it was reconstructed.

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

Reconstructed building on Market Square in Weimar

That’s all for today, folks.  I’ll get off my soap box now.