Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 1996.166
  • RG-60.5057
1 Jan 1985 - 31 Dec 1985
Level of Description
  • Silent
EHRI Partner


Biographical History

Claude Lanzmann was born in Paris to a Jewish family that immigrated to France from Eastern Europe. He attended the Lycée Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand. His family went into hiding during World War II. He joined the French resistance at the age of 18 and fought in the Auvergne. Lanzmann opposed the French war in Algeria and signed a 1960 antiwar petition. From 1952 to 1959 he lived with Simone de Beauvoir. In 1963 he married French actress Judith Magre. Later, he married Angelika Schrobsdorff, a German-Jewish writer, and then Dominique Petithory in 1995. He is the father of Angélique Lanzmann, born in 1950, and Félix Lanzmann (1993-2017). Lanzmann's most renowned work, Shoah, is widely regarded as the seminal film on the subject of the Holocaust. He began interviewing survivors, historians, witnesses, and perpetrators in 1973 and finished editing the film in 1985. In 2009, Lanzmann published his memoirs under the title "Le lièvre de Patagonie" (The Patagonian Hare). He was chief editor of the journal "Les Temps Modernes," which was founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, until his death on July 5, 2018.

Scope and Content

Location filming of Auschwitz and Birkenau in winter for SHOAH. FILM ID 3451 -- Auschwitz 48D-64B / Birkenau int. camp (white label 69) -- 01:00:13 to 01:14:25 Museum sign on Auschwitz-Birkenau grounds in four languages regarding the cremating pits, mass transports, and extermination. WS sign, remains of crematorium in BG, guard-tower. WS building remains, sign regarding the destruction of the crematorium by the Sonderkommando in 1944. Pan of snow-covered camp grounds. Quick shot of Lanzmann with fur hat standing in the field. CU, reeds, barbed wire fence, building remains, pan. 01:05:13 HAS of the barracks, panning along the barbed wire fence. 01:07:32 Railway going to main entrance. 01:08:20 Quick view of Lanzmann in a coat and fur hat. Pan of snow-covered ruins, pit, ground, pan up to barbed-wire fence and building rubble. "Krematorium II" sign. More pans of the camp grounds, lake, fence, guard tower. FILM ID 3612 -- Majdanek R.1 / Auschwitz Bte. 21.22 / Chutes 13 (white label 13/14) -- 01:00:12 to 01:11:13 Large cross decorated with a wreath on a roadside. Shots of snow-covered fields in Poland from a moving vehicle. CR22 Slow pan of homes in a village in Poland in late winter (near Oswiecem?). Local Poles stand in the doorway of a building with horse-drawn carriages. More views of housing in the town. 01:05:47 LS, slow pan of grassy fields. Muddy road. CU, tall wooden pillar with a cross at the top. More housing in town, locals, dirt roads, religious statues. Church. Snow-covered field. FILM ID 4698 -- White 41.42 Birkenau Canada Pet Ferme Cendres Camp surrounded by posts. LS, Birkenau surrounded by green fields. Fog everywhere. (2:58) Large piles of coal, with train tracks running beside. (4:10) A horse drawn cart stops next to the piles of coal. (4:37) Entryway of a courtyard, train tracks. (5:00) Birkenau entrance. (5:28) Fields separated by short posts. Small guard towers. (7:12) A perimeter fence with lamps. Barbed wire runs across the top of the fence. (7:52) A horse drawn cart stops in the field, and a man works beside the horse. (8:13) The camp from outside the perimeter fence, guard tower. (8:48-10:34) Reel break - there is no image. (10:36) Perimeter fence and guard tower. Set of steps leading down into the ground, and brick walls on either side. The underground steps lead to the ruins of a large underground room and leads to a crumbling set of ruins. (14:43) Crumbling ruins in the field. (15:26) Smooth floors in the ruins of a building. (16:52) Crematorium with chimneys, ruins of the camp. (19:22) A long, underground hallway with a platform. (20:04) Camera moves along train tracks towards the entrance. (20:56) Perimeter fences. (21:06) Train tracks beside the fields surrounded by perimeter fences and guard towers. (21:24-26:52) Reel break - picture missing. (26:54) A small pond surrounded by trees. (27:34) Larger body of water with brick walls. (29:10) A bare tree in a field, beside it is a low stone wall, and countless old spoons, forks, and a bowl. FILM ID 4699 -- White 43.44 Birkenau Voies-Maquette Chutes (14:44) From above, train tracks with perimeter fences, guard towers, and fields on either side. (0:53) Train tracks. (2:27) Claude stands on a road next to the train tracks and walks alongside the tracks. (5:15) Overgrown tracks. Tracks with perimeter fence fields on either side. Birkenau from a distance. (6:46) Train tracks with power lines. A train goes by. (8:13) Tower beside the train tracks. (8:50) Empty train tracks with railway cars on the side. A town is off to the left. (10:23) From above, train tracks with perimeter fences, guard towers, and fields on either side. A group of people walk beside the fence on the left. (11:26) The steam of a train engine. (11:52) "Model Krematorium II” with figurines, close-ups. FILM ID 4700 -- White 45 Valises (08:00) CUs luggage: “Friedrich Neumann. 1890. CF97” “Carl Israel Hafner. Wien I. Biberstr. 14” “Ernst Morgenstern. 7688.” A pile of empty baskets. More luggage: “Marta Sa. Schlesinger, 187” “AAw490. Jng Aussenerg Richard. XVIII - Schlickstrasse 34” “S.L. Steinberg Ludwig” “1018 Tekla Placzek” “A.Demiranda. 9.11.92. Holland” “Bernh Israel Aronsohn. Hamberg. Kielortallee 22. Evak.NR.1849” “Dr.K.Fleischmann. Arzt” Pan over the suitcases.(00:02:46) Different suitcases: "Sidonie Sara. Fuchs. Wien. Yiylzŭsg.” “Klein. Peter. 942. AU 1003.” “Stefan Gross. Mahr Ostrau. 854.” “Z591. Popper Hugo. 28.12.1874.” “Hans Fried Leipnik. 1540.” “Meyer. J. 05377” “Adele Sara. Wien, II Eilienbrunng” “Helga Tichauer-Cohn. Tt.Nr.1613” Suitcase with crossed out writing: “Issac Querido. 16-9-04. Holland” and replaced in red with: “Catharina Querido - 8-12-04” Another suitcase, “Jakob Wenger Litzmannstadt.” “Olto Israel Schönhof. Gel: 25.8.70 Offenbach a/m. keñOrt: Offenbach A/m. KeñN: A.oo513” Camera pans out showing a pile of suitcases. More steady shots. (00:06:36) “Singer Leon. 1.3.84” “Berta Wachsmann” "Dr.Kurt Weiluner” “Klara Sara Goldstein” (00:07:06) CU, “Maria Karfka. Prag XIII-833” “Transport No. Berta Sara Rosenthal. Berline Chbg. Uhlandstr. 194” Pan out, and CU, “Sal. Freitag. 18.7.97. Holland. (00:07:40) End. FILM ID 4701 -- White 46 Archives. Ville. Chutes (13:41) Clapperboard: “Pologne 2 Hiver Bobine 41” “Auschwitz Archives” Two black and white photographs of Nazis - on the left: “Beuermann Heinrich [Oświęcim ]” and on the right: “Danilowitz Otto, SS - Sturmführer [Oświęcim.]” More photos - on the left: “Brong Uvar, kz. Oświęcim.” On the right: “Hagel Jozef, SS -Sturmführer [Oświęcim.]” Next: “Münk, aufseher Birkenau,” [Overseer of Birkenau.] (0.53) A black and white photo of a Nazi leading a horse. (1.05) Headshot of a man in a suit. (1.22) Crematorium. (2.11) A crematorium under construction. (2.26) Courtyard with partial gallows in the center. (2.56) Clapperboard: “Pologne 2 Hiver Bobine 40” “Auschwitz Archives” (3.04) Black and white photos of prisoners corralled into a line by soldiers next to a railway tracks. (3.17) Railcars with German soldiers. (3.29) Several black and white photos of men staring directly into the camera in front of train cars. One man has an armband wrapped around his sleeve. (4.10) Women and children by the railcar with star badges. (5.19) More prisoners with star badges. (6.55) Piles in front of a train. (7.09) Someone walks away from the camera carrying a large item. Wrapped items at their feet. (7.24) Bags strewn across the ground in front of a train. (7.31) People stand in front of houses, a cart pulled by two horses on the right. Germans stand in a low ditch between buildings. (7.54) Three photos of children. (8.05) Four malnourished children. (8.35) Soldiers burning bodies. (8.55) A telegram of the secret police, written on April 9, 1944 and received April 11, 1944. (9.45) City of Oswiecem, Poland - street with colorful buildings and a church steeple in the background. Local Polish people walk around. FILM ID 4702 -- White 66 Auschwitz 32-43 Gare Vieille Rampe (23:37) CR AUS 32. Railcar tracks with empty train cars. Pan to active platforms of the Oswiecim station. Clock indicates 1:23pm. Train arrives in station, drops off passengers and picks up others. Signs, “Katowice prezez Mysłowice” “Peron 3. Tor 9” “Peron 3. Tor 5” “do wyjscia” Train conductor hangs out the window and checks the time. "AUS 33" Crew member taps the boom mic with the take number. Watch tower for the railway. Man walks across the bridge. Train arrives. Lanzmann in a hat signals. He is with men in uniform. CU of incoming train. CR 34. INT, tower. Tracks. Man in the tower. (00:09:17) "AUS 36" More tracks. Zoom in to entrance to Auschwitz through the fog. CU of the tracks next to Auschwitz. "AUS 42" Stationary train carts. "AUS 43" Muddy road. Tracks. CU, the entrance to Auschwitz. (00:15:13) Back at the first active railway station, local passengers move about. Pan of the tracks. A train pulls through a station. CU, entrance to Auschwitz. Quick shots of Lanzmann. Another moving train. "AUS 38" "AUS 39" The tracks end at Auschwitz. (00:22:45) CU, carriage cars on the tracks. "AUS 47" FILM ID 4703 -- White 67 Auschwitz 15-31E / Blocs 10.11 Ch. Gaz (23:26) Path at Auschwitz with perimeter fences on either side. The path leads to a guard tower. Snow on the barbed wire fence. “Blok Smierci” plaque above the door at Block 11. Memorial for the execution wall at Block 11, with flowers hanging from it and on the ground in front of it. There is a flag flying on the opposite side of the courtyard. Closer shots of the memorial. (9:17) Dimly lit INTs, gas chamber with barred window close to the ceiling.The number “13” in blue above a doorway. The room is small. Stretcher with a hole in it is leaning against the wall. There are striped clothes laid next to the stretcher. (13:25) A room with a long table with a white table cloth. There are pieces of paper laid out on the table. (15:11) EXTs, barracks. (17:00-18:23) Reel change, there is no image. Open air grates in the courtyard. Inside them are barred windows. The room with the blue 13 on the doorway. Dimly lit INTs, 4 small crematoriums on the wall. A square chimney in the ground, surrounded by snow. (22:14) HAS, visitors to the Auschwitz memorial walk out of the gas chamber with the large chimney attached to it. FILM ID 4704 -- White 68 Auschwitz 44A-46.48 / Musee (08:37) CU of suitcases within the museum. Some names are legible: “Edith Weisz” “Paula Furth” “Minska, Hanna” “Kind Weissbrod” “Singer, Leon” “Berta Wachmann” “Dr.Kurt WieLuner”. A pile of baskets are mixed in with the suitcases. More shots of the suitcases: “ Hajek, Franz” “Ludwig Israel Baruch” “Levi” CU of a suitcase with a transport number and a faded name. (00:03:54) A large pile of shoes behind glass. "AUS 34" "AUS 36" Large piles of victims' property: crutches, prosthetic legs, and shoes. "AUS 45" Pots, bowls and dishes. Toothbrushes. Hairbrushes. Other objects.


  • No transcript

  • Claude Lanzmann spent twelve years locating survivors, perpetrators, and eyewitnesses for his nine and a half hour film Shoah released in 1985. Without archival footage, Shoah weaves together extraordinary testimonies to render the step-by-step machinery of the destruction of European Jewry. Critics have called it "a masterpiece" and a "monument against forgetting." The Claude Lanzmann SHOAH Collection consists of roughly 185 hours of interview outtakes and 35 hours of location filming.




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