Jewish Tours

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Last of the Unjust review - Claude Lanzmann's profound reflections on
Theresienstadt and the Holocaust
Claude Lanzmann's fascinating 1975 interview with Benjamin Murmelstein
finally gets a cinematic release last of unjust Claude Lanzmann, left, and
Benjamin Murmelstein in The Last of the Unjust: 'by turns engaging,
sardonically horrifying and bewildering'.
Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Sunday 11 January 2015
In 1975, Claude Lanzmann (then embarking upon his epochal Holocaust
documentary Shoah) travelled to Rome to interview Benjamin Murmelstein, the
only surviving president of the Jewish Council in Theresienstadt - Adolf
Eichmann's so-called "model ghetto" in which thousands died in appalling
squalor, while many more were transported on to death camps in "the East".
Shunned after the war as a collaborator, Murmelstein was imprisoned and then
acquitted by the Czech authorities. Yet the stench of guilt remained, and
hangs in the air of Lanzmann's surprisingly intimate interviews, conducted
over the course of a week during which the two develop what looks like a
Murmelstein is slippery; his voice strident and self-justifying, his
conversation digressional and erudite, his manner argumentatively
unrepentant. In the version of events that he recalls here (which Lanzmann
notes is tonally "very different" from that presented in his 1961 book
Terezin: Il ghetto-modello di Eichmann), Murmelstein worked pragmatically to
preserve the ghetto and its population in the face of inconceivable evil,
wielding whatever power he had to soften the anvil blows of the Nazi regime.
His memories are anecdotal yet precise, his testimony feistily first-hand
(he dismisses Hannah Arendt's infamous depiction of Eichmann as "banal",
asserting forcefully that "he was a demon"). He repeatedly compares himself
to Scheherazade, using stories to save his life, and arguably those of
Intertwined with these archived interviews is recent footage of the
87-year-old Lanzmann revisiting less well-known sites of Nazi horror, from
Nisko in Poland to Terezin itself, where the foul lie of humane relocation
was propagated to hide the unthinkable reality of the "final solution".
"It took me a long time to accept that I had no right to keep it to myself,"
says Lanzmann of his resurrection of Murmelstein's 40-year-old testimony,
which is by turns engaging, sardonically horrifying and bewildering. Each
viewer will judge its truth for themselves, but the director's
compassionately unsentimental acceptance is clear and profound


Previous page  Next Page

Read about our specially designed tours Click here to know who we are Customers Testimonials  Site map  
News and Media  Prices Directory of Synagogues  
More info? Click here to send us an email

Terms and Conditions

Related links Other services 


Visite nuestro sitio/Visit our home page:

Jewish Tours Argentina