Two Scenes From Claude Lanzmann's Shoah: A Textual Analysis

898 words - 4 pages

1st scene (2 min 47 sec)The scene opens with the camera slowly closing in on a white surveillance van whilst a voice is singing (in German) a motivation song created by an SS guard in Buchenwald about heading towards an ideological goal involving a small village, Treblinka. The audience is made aware of the singer's identity by a simple white text on the screen: 'Franz Suchomel, SS Unterscharfuhrer'. The camera then cuts to two men presumably inside the van just viewed. They are watching various blue screens. All the while the audio of the song continues. Void of emotion Suchomel goes on to talk about the history of the song and how Jewish work detail prisoners were taught the song ...view middle of the document...

As in the opening scene of the film, simple white text appears 'Abraham Bomba (Israel)'. There is just six seconds shy of a full minute of silence in the way of speech. Perhaps Lanzmann begins this scene with such silence to command the audience's full attention. This interview is conducted in English. Bomba relates how he was a barber and that because of this, while in Treblinka he was chosen along with others to be in a work detail, cutting the hair of people moments before they were to be gassed.Throughout his testimony Bomba's voice slightly breaks now and then - a sign of the immense pressure he may be exerting to control his voice. Lanzmann wants an emotive response from Bomba; he wants to catch on film just what the horror of the holocaust has done to individuals that survived. This is evident in his repetitive questions "what did you feel?" and "what was your impression?" etc. When Bomba finally replies to these questions, the door to his emotions has been pushed a little further open and his countenance becomes more agitated as he tries to relate the horror of watching his friends, relatives and fellow human beings being sent to death.Bomba then explains the terrible predicament of not being able to tell the victims anything, for the Nazi's were always present. The scene ends with Bomba stating "…they tried to do ...


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