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The Last of the Unjust

In 1941, the Nazis turned the the Czech fortress and town of Terezin into the ghetto of Theresienstadt. The ghetto was a transit center as well as a camp for high-profile people, and was turned into a "model Jewish settlement" in preparation for a Red Cross visit in 1944. The "embellishment" had the desired propaganda outcome - a "positive report."
While researching Shoah, Claude Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein, the last surviving member of the Jewish Council of the Elders in Theresienstadt. That footage is now in a new film, "The Last Of The Unjust." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 16, 2013 - 4 comments

"Save one life, save the world."

In 1988, Nicholas Winton appeared on the BBC program "That's Life." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 24, 2013 - 12 comments

The Kommandant's Daughter

"Brigitte Höss lives quietly on a leafy side street in Northern Virginia. She is retired now, having worked in a Washington fashion salon for more than 30 years. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and spends much of her days dealing with the medical consequences. Brigitte also has a secret that not even her grandchildren know. Her father was Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 10, 2013 - 81 comments

Five Essays on Literature by Novelist Adam Thirlwell

Adam Thirlwell has written five essays in as many years for The New Republic. They all concern themselves with literature, especially French, though the first one was about Charles Dickens and how he was the most avant-garde writer of the 19th Century. The second was about Roland Barthes' plans to write a novel which came to nothing when he died. In Visionary Materialism, Thirlwell explores Rimbaud's Illuminations from several angles. Genocide and the Fine Arts is about Claude Lanzmann, the director of Shoah, and his complicated relationship with his famous work. The latest one, Baudelaire's Humiliation as a Way of Life, is about Baudelaire's place at the crux of the 19th Century revolution in letters.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 8, 2013 - 8 comments

"God, you owe me a life - a living baby."

Dr. Gisella Perl was a gynecologist living in what is now Sighet, Rumania, when in 1944 she and her family were transported by the Nazis to the death camp at Auschwitz. There, she was forced to work under Joseph Mengele in the camp hospital. After seeing the horrors and abuse leading up to the murder of pregant women, she "decided that never again would there be a pregnant woman in Auschwitz." Gisella Perl: Angel and Abortionist in the Auschwitz Death Camp [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 28, 2012 - 40 comments

Claude Lanzmann

Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Apr 16, 2012 - 6 comments

Gray zone, schmay zone

Almost immediately upon my arrival in my first teaching job, I became the go-to guy for the Holocaust. Of course, this was partly due to my dissertation, but in larger part, I suspect, because of my Jewishness. This was fine with me for a number of reasons. First, as a junior faculty member, this identification, though merely professional, could only help in my quest for tenure. An expert on the Holocaust carried infinitely greater weight, I thought, than an expert on ministerial instability during the French Third Republic.

Dissolution: My life as an accidental Holocaust expert—and why I decided to quit
posted by timshel on Feb 25, 2012 - 13 comments

An Asterisk of a Different Kind

Ralph Branca's story now manages to combine baseball, tragedy, genealogy, Judaism and the Nazis
posted by xowie on Aug 15, 2011 - 14 comments

“A little white house… lingers in my memory…”

Shoah, Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 film about the Holocaust, can be seen on YouTube, in 59 parts and lasting more than 9 hours. This is not for the faint of heart or for folks with short attention spans. Reminded of it through Ebert’s latest post. On Wikipedia. (Previously here)
posted by growabrain on Jan 2, 2011 - 42 comments

Special Command Unit

"SonderKommando Revolt is a Wolf3D mod about real WWII revolt against the Nazis in the famous Auschwitz extermination camp." [more inside]
posted by griphus on Dec 9, 2010 - 26 comments

Poetry in Hell

Poetry in Hell contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 23, 2010 - 9 comments

I Will Survive

Dancing Auschwitz
"Jewish artist defends YouTube video 'Dancing Auschwitz'"
posted by andoatnp on Jul 10, 2010 - 28 comments

Women and the Holocaust

Women and the Holocaust is a site about women's experiences in the Holocaust. It has poetry, testimonials, personal reflections, tributes, essays and more.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 5, 2008 - 10 comments

Righteous among the Peoples

In March 1944, Nazi Germany occupied its ally Hungary and immediately began preparing the extermination of Hungary's Jews. A small band of diplomats from neutral countries and the Red Cross put their lives at risk to try to smuggle as many Jews as possible out of Hungary from under Adolf Eichmann's nose. While Raoul Wallenberg remains the best known of these "Righteous among the Nations", there's no doubt that the most intriguing character was Giorgio "Jorge" Perlasca. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Jun 29, 2008 - 4 comments

The 'Problem of Evil' in Postwar Europe

Tony Judt's acceptance speech for the 2007 Hannah Arendt Prize: "Let me suggest five difficulties that arise from our contemporary preoccupation with the Shoah, with what every schoolchild now calls 'the Holocaust.'"
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 29, 2008 - 30 comments

“I study dead Jews”

"So much for “never again.” So the problem has obviously not disappeared."
Raul Hilberg (1926-2007, NYT obit) explains why he added a chapter on Rwanda to the last edition of The destruction of the European Jews, a work that took him a lifetime and 3 editions to complete, meeting with indifference, then with criticism from those who didn't share his (at the beginning) functionalist view of the Holocaust. Hilberg became involved in other controversies about the Holocaust, but "The Destruction..." remains the "the closest of any work in print to being the Summa of Holocaust studies" (Christopher Browning). Also: Hilberg intervied by Claude Lanzmann in "Shoah" (YT) (previously).
posted by elgilito on Aug 7, 2007 - 41 comments

Holocaust Archive Is Going Public

The largest archive of Nazi prison camp records, which has been closed for 50 years, is going public in May 2007. The International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany consists of 16 miles of files in six nondescript buildings in the German spa town and contains the fullest record of Nazi persecutions in existence. This past April Germany finally agreed to open access to the archive, ending a nasty diplomatic dispute between the United States and Germany.
posted by ericb on Nov 19, 2006 - 19 comments

“Yes, but in my film time is shattered.”

"I would like to do better, to be better than I am". He's the French New Wave maverick and Academy Award winner (at 26, for his first short) who, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz -- with considerable personal pain and the admission that "no description, no picture can reveal the true dimension" of what happened in the camps -- made what François Truffaut called "the greatest film ever made", duly censored by French authorities. Four years later he baffled audiences with "the first modern film of sound cinema", shattering the rules of chronology to describe the “anguish of the future”: even if all he ever wanted was "to stop death in its tracks" (French language link), only for one minute. But he is also the unabashed lover of la bande dessinée who learnt English by reading comic books and in the Seventies dreamed (French language link) of making "Spider-Man" into a movie (the Hollywood studios were not convinced), the MGM old-school musical and operetta nut so in love with design that "half of the fashion photography of the past 40 years owes a debt" to him. Now, Alain Resnais' new work, just shown at the Venice Film Festival where his buddy David Lynch was awarded a lifetime achievement Golden Lion, is a French film inspired by an English play with 54 short scenes, music by the X-Files's Mark Snow. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Sep 8, 2006 - 20 comments

"The Holocaust is ultimately a ghost story, and Poles have many reasons to be haunted."

In 1945-46, some of the (very few) Polish Jews who had survived the Final Solution returned -- sick, poor, wounded -- to Poland. In Elie Wiesel's words, "they had thought all too naively that antisemitism, discredited 6 million times over, had died at Auschwitz with its victims. They were wrong." In 2001 Princeton professor Jan T Gross published the story of the 1941 destruction of the Jewish community at Jedwabne, Poland, and proved how Jews were rounded up, clubbed, drowned, gutted or burned to death not by German forces as previously believed but by mobs of their own non-Jewish neighbors. Now professor Gross tells the story of the Kielce pogrom in his new book, "Fear". Of course, the Kielce butchery took place in 1946 -- more than a year after the end of WWII and defeat of Nazism. More inside.
posted by matteo on Jun 25, 2006 - 107 comments

Full Fathom Nine

Mahler performances were rare in Vienna in those days because Mahler's city had already been contaminated by the acolytes of Adolf Hitler. By their reckoning, Mahler's music was loathsome — a product of "Jewish decadence." To put Mahler's music on the program was therefore a political act. It was to protest and deny the hateful faith that blazed across the border from Germany. That much I understood quite clearly, even as a boy.
The New Yorker's Alex Ross reprints Hans Fantel's New York Times 1989 essay on Bruno Walter's 1938 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony -- the last performance of the Vienna Philharmonic before Hitler invaded Austria.
posted by matteo on Apr 10, 2006 - 7 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box) responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto). On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av, the "saddest day in Jewish history" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans). Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom", edited by one of the most prominent Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

Operation Anthropoid

Operation Anthropoid. In 1942, a group of Czech and Slovak exiles parachuted into their Nazi-occupied homeland and assassinated (hi-res pictures, scroll down) SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Final Solution, the "Butcher of Prague." For the first time since the end of the World War Two, a German museum is offering a close look at "Operation Anthropoid," the codename for the only successful assassination of a member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle.
posted by matteo on Jan 31, 2006 - 36 comments

The Return of Jerry Moses and the Jewish Migration to Shanghai

"Ala ZongGoNin! Ala YouTaNin!". Jerry Moses last walked on Gaoyang Road in 1947. It was called Chaoufoong Road then, and it was home to many of the 18,000 European Jewish refugees who had sought refuge from Nazi Germany in Shanghai's Hongkew District (today known as Hongkou) during the run-up to World War II. He casts his gaze at the lane, his brow loosens and he begins to nod. "This is it, this is it," he says softly. "I know this is it." One week into his first visit to Shanghai in almost 60 years, Moses has found his third home in an exile that lasted from 1941 to 1947. He strides into the space, his manner now much closer to that of the 12-year-old boy who had left than the 70-year-old man who has returned. More inside.
posted by matteo on Jan 19, 2006 - 13 comments

Andrzej Munk: Wry Smiles, Suspicious Glances

Eroica. Film director Andrzej Munk’s tragic death at age thirty-nine might have formed the plot for one of his own darkly sardonic works: a Polish Jew and an active resistance worker during the war, he was returning home from shooting his film Passenger at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1961 when an oncoming truck struck his car. He left behind only four feature films, but his influence was prodigious. As one of the key figures of the postwar “Polish School” of filmmaking, along with Wajda and Kawalerowicz, he helped to shape a vision that broke with the official social realist optimism of Eastern-bloc dogma and cast a skeptical eye on official notions of heroism, nationalism, and life in the Stalinist-occupied state. Mentor to Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski, his influence can be felt even in the films of a later generation of Polish filmmakers — directors like Zanussi and Kieslowski. More inside.
posted by matteo on Dec 7, 2005 - 7 comments

Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005

Goodnight, mr. Wiesenthal
posted by matteo on Sep 20, 2005 - 68 comments

Holocaust Archive

Remember.org is a huge archive of the Shoah. It contains sections on the accounts of survivors and liberators (here is an account by Helen L. of her childhood in Auschwitz, here is Harry Herder's account of liberating Buchenwald, here is Jacques Lipetz account of WWII in Manila, here is part of a history of life in the Warsaw Ghetto), images from the camps and pictures of artwork produced by survivors (here is Mauthausen then and now, here is a picture of a prisoner at Dachau from this extensive archive of historical images, here are some drawings by Jan Komski, an Auschwitz survivor), and an extensive sections of excerpts of books written by survivors. Many of the images and accounts on this website are quite disturbing.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 15, 2005 - 65 comments

Amelie Nothomb's "Sulphuric Acid"

Novelist posits Shoah as reality TV show. In her new book titled ’Sulphuric Acid’ published in France, the successful Belgian author Amelie Nothomb describes a “concentration camp reality show”. It's the story of a reality show called “Concentration”. There are ’candidates’ which are arrested in roundups, tattooed and guarded before they are executed one by one following a vote by the spectators.
posted by matteo on Sep 14, 2005 - 19 comments

Singing, Painting and the Holocaust: Interview with Leon Greenman

you'll then have a grave in the clouds where you won't lie too cramped
"No, no, I never met Paul Celan. This poem is too CLASSIC, too cold, and too difficult to follow. It does nothing to me".
Singing, Painting and the Holocaust: Interview with Leon Greenman, Auschwitz Survivor 98288
posted by matteo on Aug 29, 2005 - 9 comments

.

"...I should like someone to remember that there once lived a person named David Berger"
posted by PenDevil on Nov 22, 2004 - 99 comments

About Shoah

I haven't yet spent the nine-and-a-half hours it takes to watch "Shoah" but this sad, floating article makes me want to.
posted by iffley on Jul 8, 2004 - 6 comments

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