05 July 2018
World-renowned filmmaker and director Claude Lanzmann passed away earlier today at the age of 92 in France. Lanzmann was born in Paris, France in 1925 to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His family went into hiding during World War II. He later joined the French resistance at the young age of 17.
Claude Lanzmann is most known for his non-fiction work entitled Shoah, which has become one of foremost films in Holocaust remembrance since its release in 1985. Shoah marks a tectonic shift in Holocaust cinema—rejecting archival footage, docu-drama, and all other genres, Lanzmann insisted on focusing on testimonies of Holocaust survivors who had been closest to the mass murder of their people. "Shoah is a work about the present, representing the way those who were there live with trauma and the memory of it," stated Yad Vashem Visual Center Director Liat Benhabib. "Holocaust films of all genres changed after Shoah, which also served to shine a spotlight on survivor testimony in an unprecedented scope and manner."
"Claude Lanzmann's cinematic work left an indelible mark on the collective memory, and shaped the consciousness of the Holocaust of viewers around the world, in these and other generations," said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. "His departure from us now, along with our recent separation from many Holocaust survivors, marks the end of an era."