Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah: Four Sisters
In 1985, Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah shattered a complacent world. Even at 9-1/2 hours, the howl of pain and anger evoked by the French filmmaker’s piercing interviews of survivors and former Nazi officials, juxtaposed with bucolic images of the sites of so much torment, forced a confrontation with the past that brought the scenes agonizingly close to the present.
But Lanzmann was haunted by the stories left on the cutting room floor and in 2017, just a year before his death, he released a new film containing four of them: Four Sisters.
The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center is honored to present these films, built around four women from four different parts of Eastern Europe who each found herself improbably alive at war’s end.
Film 1: The Hippocratic Oath
Meet Ruth Elias, singing and playing the accordion, recalling the melodies that long served as her anthems of courage. Hers should have been a simple love story. But the girl met the boy in a village where Ruth’s family hid after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. Her wedding took place in Theresienstadt ghetto just as her parents were deported. And within weeks of realizing she was pregnant, Ruth was loaded onto a cattle car and sent to Auschwitz.
There, she came to the attention of Dr. Josef Mengele, the camp chief physician, known as the “Angel of Death” for his demented experiments on prisoners. After Ruth gave birth, Mengele ordered her breasts bandaged to see how long the infant could survive without food – and Ruth faced the worst choice a mother could imagine.
Followed by a conversation with Bernard-Henri Lévy.
The remaining three films in the series will be screened in April 2019.
Sponsored by Temple Emanu-El board member Charles S. Cohen and The Cohen Media Group
With the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy