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May 6, 2013

New film by Claude Lanzmann, soon to be released, will feature Benjamin Murmelstein, the last head of the Jewish council at Theresienstadt

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:42 am

Claude Lanzmann is the 87-year-old director of the famous 9 and 1/2 hour Holocaust documentary entitled Shoah, which features testimony from Holocaust survivors and Holocaust perpetrators.  The testimony, given by Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, for that film, ended up on the cutting room floor.  I previously blogged about Lanzmann’s new film here.

So why is Lanzmann doing a new film, featuring the testimony of Dr. Murmelstein, who is now dead?  I think it is because Dr. Murmelstein revealed, in his testimony, that there was a homicidal gas chamber at Theresienstadt where the Nazis were planning to finish off the genocide of the Jews.

This quote from the news article explains it:

…. What angers [Lanzmann] is not that anyone would be making money off of images of genocide, but rather, that anyone would dare suggest that any such images [of gas chambers] exist.

“They [gas chamber images] don’t [exist],” he says categorically. “The core of the story is the gas chambers, and there is no footage from inside the gas chambers. All other sorts of footage are side things.”

Gas chamber at Theresienstadt was located in one of these buildings

Gas chamber at Theresienstadt was near this location

According to the Ghetto Museum at Theresienstadt, a homicidal gas chamber at Theresienstadt was built by the Nazis in the Spring of 1945 in a corridor of the town’s fortifications wall near the Litomerice gate, (shown in the photo above) which is right by the Bauhof building, shown in the photograph below. Click here to see a map of the Theresienstadt ghetto. The Bauhof building is number 14 on the map.

Bauhof building at Theresienstadt houses a gas chamber

Bauhof gas chamber building is on the left and the Litomerice gate is on the right

The alleged Theresienstadt homicidal gas chamber was directly across from the Jäger (Hunter) barracks, an identical building on the opposite side of the town, which was used as a disinfection station where the prisoners and their clothing were deloused.

The prisoners were disinfected by being completely submerged in a tub containing a chemical which would kill the lice on their bodies. At the same time, their clothing was disinfected by hot steam; they would have to put their clothes back on while they were still wet and then return to their barracks.

The ghetto inmates became aware of the alleged Theresienstadt homicidal gas chamber in the Bauhof building and were planning to blow it up, but the war ended just in time to save the Theresienstadt Jews from being gassed with Zyklon-B.

You can read about Lanzmann’s new film in this quote from a news article which you can read in full here:

The very first interview Claude Lanzmann recorded for his groundbreaking nine-and-a-half hour documentary “Shoah” ended up on the cutting-room floor. It was an interview he conducted almost 40 years ago in Rome with Benjamin Murmelstein, a Viennese rabbi and intellectual who served as the last head of the Jewish Council in Theresienstadt. Although the question-and-answer session went on for an entire week, generating hours upon hours of tape, Lanzmann never found an appropriate place for it.

Until now.

These outtakes from “Shoah” form the basis of Lanzmann’s soon-to-be-released film, “The Last of the Unjust” (a play on the title of Andre Schwarz-Bart’s classic French novel), a three-and-a-half hour documentary that reveals, in his words, “the height of Nazi cruelty and perversity.” Lanzmann promises that the testimony featured in his latest cinematic work is the ultimate rebuttal to the “so-called banality of evil” theory popularized by Hannah Arendt – whom he disparagingly refers to as “Frau Arendt” – by demonstrating just how corrupt and conniving a man was Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann.

Several years ago, Dr. Wolf Murmelstein, the son of Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, sent me 6 essays that he had written in defense of his father.   You can access all of the essays written by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein on my website  here.  I also blogged about Dr.Benjamin Mermelstein and Adolf Eichmann’s plan to continue the gassing of the Jews at Theresienstadt here.

This quote from the news article about the new Lanzmann film explains why a new film, featuring the testimony of Benjamin Murmelstein is needed:

When “Shoah” was broadcast in weekly TV segments in Iran two years ago, Lanzmann took the opportunity to write an open letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the world’s most notorious Holocaust denier, reassuring the national leader he had nothing to fear.

“I said ‘If you want to find proof in ‘Shoah’ that the Shoah really happened, you will not find this proof. Why? Because there is not one single corpse in ‘Shoah’. And that’s because there were no corpses. People who arrived in Auschwitz were gassed within the first two hours. Their bodies were turned to ashes, and these ashes were dumped in sacks in the river or allowed to blow away in the wind.”

Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein probably mentioned the gas chamber at Theresienstadt in his testimony for the Shoah documentary, which was not used in the film.

Was there really a gas chamber at Theresienstadt?  There was a typhus epidemic at Theresienstadt in the last days of the camp and thousands of prisoners were dying.  I have no doubt that a Gaskammer was set up, to stop the epidemic, and Zyklon-B was used to disinfect the clothing of the prisoners.  It must have alarmed the prisoners when they learned that a Gaskammer was being used in the Bauhof building near the Litomerice gate into the camp.

Theresienstadt was one of the last camps to be liberated.  Prisoners from other camps were sent there to prevent them from being released for fear that they would attack the civilian German population during the last days of World War II.

Some of the survivors of the trains, that were sent to Theresienstadt in the last days of the war, believed that they were being sent there to be killed.

In a recent talk which she gave to college students, Ela Weissberger mentioned a gas chamber at Theresienstadt.  This quote is from the news story about her talk:

Weissberger, now in her eighties, spoke about her three and a half years at Terezin and in spite of its emphasis on art, Terezin was still a site of despair and death. Weissberger told of a shooting gallery that still bears the blood of innocent victims and a brewery converted into a gas chamber under the guise of showers. All the while Terezin was hailed as a model concentration camp, covered by an elaborate veneer of propaganda as the world averted their eyes.

The photo below shows the old brewery building at Theresienstadt.

Old brewery at Theresienstadt was converted into a Gaskammer

Old brewery at Theresienstadt was converted into a Gaskammer for disinfecting prisoner clothing

I have a section about Theresienstadt on my website, which you can read here.


  1. Lanzmann wrote: “I said ‘If you want to find proof in ‘Shoah’ that the Shoah really happened, you will not find this proof. Why? Because there is not one single corpse in ‘Shoah’. And that’s because there were no corpses. People who arrived in Auschwitz were gassed within the first two hours. Their bodies were turned to ashes, and these ashes were dumped in sacks in the river or allowed to blow away in the wind.”

    So Lanzmann now concedes that paying old German soldiers (ilke Franz Suchomel) in order to make him talk about the Treblinka gassings is not a proof of the Holocaust.

    Lanzmann now says there is no proof of the Holocaust in his film “Shoah” because no corpses can be seen in it. But he said in 2011: “The proof [of the Holocaust] is not the corpses; the proof is the absence of corpses.” –

    Lanzmann knows corpses wouldn’t prove the Holocaust anyway. In 2005 he said: “Because there is no corpse ! […] The Germans […] have destroyed the traces. The perfect crime ! So there are no corpses and no archives. The corpses shown by Alain Reinais in ‘Night and Fog’ are corpses of a concentration camp liberated by the Americans. They are the corpses of people who died from typhus.” (“Parce qu’il n’y a aucun cadavre ! […] [Les Allemands] ont détruit les traces. Le crime parfait ! Il n’y a donc ni cadavres, ni archives. Les corps que montre Alain Resnais dans Nuit et Brouillard sont ceux d’un camp de concentration libéré par les Américains. Ce sont les cadavres de gens morts du typhus. –

    Some info about Lanzmann’s methods:

    As early as 1985, in an interview, Lanzmann admitted to paying all his German ‘witnesses’ the sum of 3,000 deutschmarks, after which the witnesses had to sign a pledge to keep quiet about the payments for 30 years. In that interview he said on the subject of the German ‘witnesses’: “Money made up the minds of the hesitant ones” (report by Annette Lévy-Willard and Laurent Joffrin in Libération, 25 April 1985, p. 22). In 2004, he even bragged about this before school children: “And then I paid them. No small sums, either. I paid them all, the Germans.” (Virginie Malingre, “Claude Lanzmann explains Shoah to pupils before its distribution in the lycées”, Le Monde, 16 September 2004, p. 12).

    In his book Pietà, Swedish Professor Georg Klein told of a conversation he had with Rudolf Vrba in 1987. Klein was a Hungarian Jew who had experienced the persecution of the Jews during the war, but he had no knowledge of mass extermination. In 1987, Klein talked to Vrba about the nine-hour film Shoa, produced by Claude Lanzmann a few years before. The topic of Vrba’s experiences at Auschwitz naturally came up, since Klein was a ‘Holocaust survivor’, too. Klein asked Vrba whether his colleagues knew about his experience during the war. At first, Vrba didn’t answer the question. But later, with a sarcastic smirk, he mentioned that one of his colleagues had gotten really excited upon unexpectedly seeing Vrba in Lanzmann’s film. The colleague, of course, wanted to know whether Vrba’s statements in the film were really true. Vrba’s answer was to the effect that: “I do not know. I was just an actor and I recited my text.” R: To which his colleague commented as follows: “Most extraordinary! I did not know that you were an actor. Seeing that, why was it said that the film was made without actors?” At this revelation, Klein was speechless and refrained from asking any further questions. In his book, he says he will never forget Vrba’s mocking smirk. L: In other words, Vrba isn’t just a witness using “poetic license,” he’s just a bald-faced liar.

    Lanzmann claimed to have filmed this interview with a camera hidden in a bag. When you look at this interview, you note the following:
    – Suchomel often looks directly into the camera throughout long passages;
    – the camera is always correctly aimed and focused;
    – when both of them look at a diagram of the camp, the diagram is held up to the camera; the camera then enlarges the pointer and follows it exactly as it moves across the diagram.
    But that is impossible, if the camera was hidden in a bag! Well, not unless both people knew that the camera was there. So Lanzmann is just taking the movie-goer for a ride.

    Comment by hermie — May 7, 2013 @ 3:38 am

  2. Headline news…another show trial!!!
    Notice how the BBC a so called organ of record distorts facts and says this trial is due to a different interpretation of only obeying orders. This was never accepted as a defence and this trial is actually due to a different interpretation of conspiracy where anyone now attached to anyone one of the WW2 German camps can be prosecuted for murder. Await further developments in this show trial.

    Comment by peter — May 6, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

  3. Humanity really must retain its sense of smell before the onset of a really foul gust of gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas. What a gas!!! (Jomi)

    Comment by John-Joseph: Saintclair — May 6, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    • 😉

      Comment by hermie — May 7, 2013 @ 3:43 am

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