The day the Germans invaded Poland, all the men in Wieliczka, a small town near Krakow, were rounded up by the Germans, taken to a nearby forest, and executed. After seeing the blood-soaked bodies, the young Ada Lichtman was haunted by a question: not “Will I live or die?”, but “How will I be killed?” This went on until her arrival in Sobibor, where more than 250,000 Jews were exterminated. Ada Lichtman was one of only 50 survivors.
Shoah: Four Sisters
“The stories are as harrowing, complicated, and rife with imponderables as any Lanzmann filmed. And together, collected in a form that is much less labyrinthine than Shoah, they represent an ideal introduction (and capstone) to Lanzmann’s project.” (New York Times)
Toward the end of his long life, Claude Lanzmann (who died last year) made several films comprised of interviews conducted in the 1970s that didn’t make it into his monumental Shoah (1985). Shoah: Four Sisters consists of four short features, each showcasing the testimony of a different female Holocaust survivor. “What they have in common,” wrote Lanzmann, “apart from the specific horrors each one of them was subjected to, is their intelligence, an incisive, sharp and carnal intelligence that rejects all pretense and false reasons—in a word—idealism.” We’ll show each of these films separately but recommend you see them all.