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136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memory is all
There have been many dramas and documentaries of what happened in the death camps of WWII but put altogether they would not cut as deeply or inform so completely as 'Shoah'.

Covering in particular Chelmno,(where Jews were 1st killed by gas in vans), to Treblinka, Auschwitz, Birkenau and the Warsaw ghetto Lanzemann does not embellish or re-enact anything, he...
Published on 23 Jan 2007 by Amazon Customer

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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not quite the event claimed?
I have not seen this 9 hour long documentary until 2012 so some 30 odd years have passed since it was originally made and issued. Maybe a lot of the new research (especially in the last decade by German and non-German historians) on how the German strategy towards Jews and other chosen races (notably the gypsies of Eastern Europe who always seem to be ignored under such...
Published on 1 Oct 2012 by Siriam


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical masterpiece of the 20th century, 15 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Shoah 4-DVD Set (DVD)
Up until this film no Nazi officer was recorded on tape or video confessing to the murders, neo nazis and deniers clung on to this point like leeches, Lanzmanns duping of the elderly SS officer to confess all about Treblinka was and is of utmost historical importance. Another 'confessed' by his silence and expression when confronted by Lanzmann about piles of corpses at Dachau and others were grilled or tricked into revealing the truth.
As for the 'boring 'locations' this is not an art film or Hollywood, the birchwood forest at Auschwitz or the ruins of Treblinka and other extermination centres, rail depots, ghetto sites, are exactly what is required, which makes the reality more real than archive footage would have done. Historical masterpiece.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad awful memories, 12 Jan 2012
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Firstly Shoah is not a film of scenes of the Holocaust but a collection of short stories of individual peoples history and accounts of their survival of the Holocaust. I also have the other coolection of the Holocaust which covers the films and images of the various death camps.
Shoah is completely different and has to be seen. The compilation of interviews is 9 hours in length and covers topics of Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz etc. It also covers topics of Chelmno in Poland and the vans of death. The stories alone are harrowing and one can only try to imagine the images that the individuals are recounting. It is quite slow but each story is unique to the individual and they gain a great respect for the bravery in retelling their history. A deep harrowing account of mass murder but IT Has be be watched.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal and Beautiful, 8 Jan 2011
Shoah is brutal, beautiful, and absolutely important to watch. Not for the faint of heart, Lanzmann's nine-hour documentary focuses exclusively on the methods used to kill Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust. Lanzmann's interviews are unrelenting, his subjects compelling, his lengthy shots of now-barren landscapes haunting. The Special Edition Box Set includes a booklet featuring interviews with Lanzmann as well as an illuminating introductory essay.

Shoah not only preserves some of the most terrible truths of the Holocaust for future generations; it also works on a profoundly personal, affective level. It is a film that asks us to consider the unthinkable dimensions of the "Final Solution" and forces us to linger with feelings that are uncomfortable and often times unintelligible. An absolutely essential film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Eye Witness history, 10 Mar 2014
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Utterly compelling .... a must see. Those of us who did not experience this infamous period of history have a debt towards those who did . Ours is not to condemn or forgive the perpetrators - our obligation is to know about and remember these times. I found the last scene astonishingly powerful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I great documentary film, 6 Mar 2014
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I bought this package fro Amazon and I love it, I mainly needed it for my research on trauma.

I would say this film is for those who would like to know more about how documentary film is made and the holocaust.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Perspective on the Holocaust, 26 Feb 2014
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This documentary is a set of interviews with holocaust participants - survivors, perpetrators, bystanders. The interviews provide first hand accounts. They are riveting. The settings are also instructive as we are able to see the camps, the communities, the countryside, the railroads, the killing sites, and the people. In my opinion, "Shoah" is an important part of any investigation into the holocaust.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOAH, 2 Sep 2008
By 
John Drasar (West Wales Coast.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shoah 4-DVD Set (DVD)
I first saw this documentary/film in the 1980's it moved me to tear's then,and when I watched it again it had the same affect on me.I bought my copy of the film via Amazon Co Uk, in a four dvd box set.It took me quite a time to watch it all the way through,to listen to the people who lived near to where these dreadful concentration camp's were,and in some case's still are.One man say's in the end you get used to the shot's,the scream's,and the dog's alway's barking,you had to go on living,otherwise you might end the same way,but you never ever forget the awful sight's,and sound's which we saw daily.The train's came in full of people,and left empty,what had happened to them,why was it so quite,of course we soon found out,what could we do, nothing................!
I personally think this film/documentary should be shown to all school children over the age of thirteen,or when their studie's include the Second World War.It is so shocking that a so called civilised nation could do such thing's,gassing's,shooting's,torture,murder,and to listen to the people who actually carried it out,spoke about it as if it was just a job,they were ordered to do it,so what's the big deal,it was war,so what...!!What amazes me that the people who actually carried out these crime's against the innocent victim's of the Holocaust,haven't all been rounded up,and got rid of themselve's....!
Many of the people who took part in Claude Lanzmann's film will now be dead themselve's,or if not will be in their late eightie's/ninetie's.I think that Claude Lanzmann was a very brave person to make this huge documentary about a subject,that to many people in certain countrie's in Europe,would prefer that it isn't talked about,they want to forget about the Nazis,and what they stood for......I think that it should never ever forgotten,and by remembering,we as the people of the world must try to stop anything like the Holocaust ever happening again......!!!!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oral history, 27 Dec 2010
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G. H. Kennedy (UK) - See all my reviews
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Very much an oral history with scenes of the deathcamps as they are today leaving your mind to fill in the images. I watched this on TV when it was first released and found it harrowing to watch then as I do now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 6 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Shoah 4-DVD Set (DVD)
Very sad but essential viewing.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not quite the event claimed?, 1 Oct 2012
By 
Siriam (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Shoah 4-DVD Set (DVD)
I have not seen this 9 hour long documentary until 2012 so some 30 odd years have passed since it was originally made and issued. Maybe a lot of the new research (especially in the last decade by German and non-German historians) on how the German strategy towards Jews and other chosen races (notably the gypsies of Eastern Europe who always seem to be ignored under such films and research) developed has influenced me but ultimately I did not find the whole documentary quite the major work claimed.

What the film does do excellently is avoid any historical film and photo images and simply places the interviewees and the camera in the 1980s recording what is left (either ruins of the camps or ghettoes or of simply the fields and simple monuments) and relying on their memories and recall of the Holocaust in Poland. Occasionally Lanzmann interjects on screen (more on that later) but for the most part the interviewees are let tell the story in their own words, both simply and at times emotionally. The timing of what the film achieves is one suspects no longer possible with time passing and natural deaths reducing the number of survivors who could be interviewed now (two key examples being one of the two survivors from Treblinka who the director persuaded to return from Israel) and the Polish train driver (from the cover of the DVD) who drove many of the trains the final distance of their journey to the execution camp at Treblinka.

The film uses a very simple style of documentary camerawork which at times borders on tedious (the scenes of industrial factories in the Ruhr for example) and in certain cases (with the German senior officer from Treblinka especially) seemingly on a secretive basis to capture the interview. The scenes with the Polish people who lived near the camps and the historian commenting on the diary of the Jewish leader of the Warsaw Ghetto sadly underline how easy it is to be critical from a distance when the sad truth is nobody is likely to have acted much differently if ever placed in the same invidious position. The real revelations are often in the side comments such as the German commandant commenting on how reliant they were on Latvian and Ukrainian guards to accomplish their tasks, or the comments by Jan Karski whose own book "Diary of a secret state" is a longer expose of the key points he makes in the film about what it was actually like to visit the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw.

So if the film is so powerful in all these areas why do I only award three stars? One of the key problems for me is Lanzmann - he seems to me to be be a terrible interviewer and often irritates with his restatement of facts or pursuing points, when someone else is doing the translating, relentlessly and to little overall benefit. In particular his lack of appreciating how the German strategy developed very piecemeal from the Himmler/Heydrich end (now well documented in the recent books by Christopher Browning especially) results in his few interviews with the German military coming across as being more about just trying to catch them out.

The other aspect is that after nine hours I found myself wondering if a lot of the repetitive filming of certain locations was actually not helping the main story and rather than marvel at its length I was questioning if lopping a few hours off would have made for a sharper final documentary. Compared with the Ophuls comparable classic "The sorrow and the pity" which is a masterpiece of precision, Lanzmann's opus despite its noble intentions comes across as flabby and at times floundering.
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Shoah [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Shoah [DVD] [1985] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Claude Lanzmann (DVD - 2003)
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