Lanzmann, Claude

Lanzmann, Claude,

1925–2018, French filmmaker and journalist, b. Paris. While his Jewish family was in hiding in rural France during World War II, Lanzmann joined the Resistance and fought the Nazis. In 1944 he returned to Paris, where he studied at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and received (1948) a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne. He subsequently taught in Berlin and worked as a journalist for Le Monde. A Marxist and a follower of the existentialismexistentialism
, any of several philosophic systems, all centered on the individual and his relationship to the universe or to God. Important existentialists of varying and conflicting thought are Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Gabriel Marcel, and Jean-Paul
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 of Jean-Paul SartreSartre, Jean-Paul
, 1905–80, French philosopher, playwright, and novelist. Influenced by German philosophy, particularly that of Heidegger, Sartre was a leading exponent of 20th-century existentialism.
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, he became part of Sartre's circle; he also lived (1952–59) with Sartre's ex-lover and close friend Simone de BeauvoirBeauvoir, Simone de
, 1908–86, French author. A leading exponent of existentialism, she is closely associated with Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom she had a life-long relationship.
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In the 1960s he began working in television and film and later made the documentary Why Israel (1974). His nine-and-a-half-hour masterpiece, Shoah [Heb.,=catastrophe] (1985), the result of 11 years of research and filming, tells of the Nazi death camps in Poland through interviews with Jewish survivors, German guards and functionaries, and Poles who lived near the camps. Combining existential philosophy with New Wave film techniques, the documentary is one of the finest works of both art and history to emerge from World War II, an unforgettable first-person record of the HolocaustHolocaust
, name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Romani (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled, and others were also victims of the Holocaust.
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. His other films are Tsahal (1994), a documentary about the Israeli military and the terror of war, and three feature-length films (1997, 2001, and 2010) made from Shoah's outtakes. Also originally intended for inclusion in Shoah, The Last of the Unjust (2013) is a nearly four-hour documentary that focuses on the memories and self-justifications of Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein, who collaborated with Nazi authorities in running and maintaining the fiction of a "model ghetto" at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Lanzmann also was the editor (1986–2018) of Les Temps Modernes.


See his autobiography (2009, tr. 2012).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Lanzmann, Claude. Le Lievre de Patagonies: Memoires.
Lanzmann, Claude (1990) 'De l'Holocauste a Holocauste ou comment s'en debarrasser', in Bernard Cuau (ed.), Au sujet de Shoah.