1123

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Shoah (1985)

Chelmno. Treblinka. Auschwitz-Birkenau. Sobibor. Belzec. Infamous names connected with the madness of industrialised mass murder.

With slow intensity, the true power of talking heads is revealed, interfoliated with and further enhanced by the gloomy east bloc look of both remnants and surroundings.

There is, among all the adults, an eerie closeness to the war. Conflicting emotions surface – sorrow, guilt, remorse, disgust, denial, and even pride.

The filmmakers seem obsessed with minutiae about capacity, distances, cost, time. This bizarre focus on logistics emphasize the emptiness and ordinary triviality of horror.

Despite some unnecessary longeurs, this is still a tremendous achievement in trying to describe, in detail and for more than nine hours, the inventive and terrible bureaucracy of the final solution.

In my book of the inconceivable.

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2 Responses to 1123

  1. SJHoneywell says:

    Not an easy watch. It took me a week to get through the four DVDs. You’re right–the true message of Shoah is not the enormity of the crime, but how completely pedestrian so much of it is. Evil like this may be massive, but at its heart, it’s all petty and mundane.

  2. I sometimes feel that the more I learn, the less I understand. The whole concept seems unfathomable, even from a Nazi viewpoint. Wasting all these resources – for what? To watch the german bureaucrats and executives is almost as chilling as the tales of their victims…

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