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the New Yorker


A New Yorker profile focusing on Claude Lanzmann and the movie "Shoah," and its effects on how we think of and talk about the Holocaust today...

"When “Shoah” was released, in 1985, it was instantly historic. The nine-and-a-half-hour film about the German death camps in Poland is composed mainly of interviews with Jews who survived them, Germans who helped run them, and Poles who lived alongside them. As most of its first critics noted with surprise, the film contains no archival footage. With its long takes of extraordinarily detailed yet emotionally shattering testimony, “Shoah” turns the bearing of witness into its subject. It was immediately received as a cinematic object as incommensurable as its director intended to show the Holocaust itself to be."

Read the full article here:

Looking for answers in the past...

Interesting article in the Sept 12, 2016 New Yorker about German second generation "Kriegskinder." Burkhard Bilger writes about a form of group therapy for Germans who want to explore their past and their families.

From the article:

 “This country had fourteen million refugees,” she said. “The fact that we were able to absorb them has been called one of the great accomplishments of postwar Germany. There were all sorts of problems—prejudice, ostracism—but there was no civil war.”

Her listeners shifted in their seats. Most were middle-aged Germans like her, unaccustomed to self-pity and allergic to national pride. Theirs was a country responsible for history’s bloodiest war and most efficient mass murder: sixty million killed, including two-thirds of all European Jews. They were here to wrestle with that guilt, not to make excuses for it. Yet Baring believed that there’d been more than enough suffering to go around, and not nearly enough compassion. Of those fourteen million German refugees, some were colonists in Nazi-occupied territories. But the great majority were civilians fleeing bombed-out cities, or ethnic Germans who’d settled abroad long before the war. They and their children had the same psychological issues as the refugees flooding into Germany from Syria today: depression, alienation, no sense of place. “I’ve led whole sessions filled with nothing but people like you,” Baring said.

"As the generations turned and the war loosened its grip, people began to realize how little they knew about their parents’ and grandparents’ lives, and how much that silence had shaped their lives."