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Annual Fall HEFNU/CCHS Lecture

The Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University (HEFNU), in partnership with the Nicholas D. Chabraja Center for Historical Studies presented "Claude Lanzmann's Shoah and Its Outtakes: The Ethics of Perpetrator Representation” by Erin McGlothlin on November 19, 2020.  The virtual audience of over 250 represented over 30 countries!  Erin McGlothlin is Professor of German and Jewish Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Watch the lecture here:

In "Claude Lanzmann's Shoah and Its Outtakes: The Ethics of Perpetrator Representation,” Erin McGlothlin offered new insights into Lanzmann’s monumental film Shoah (1985) through her examination of part of the hundreds of hours of outtakes to the film restored and digitized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem.  Based on her research for the recent volume The Construction of Testimony: Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Its Outtakes, which she edited with Brad Prager and Markus Zisselsberger, McGlothlin focuses on one of Lanzmann’s most fascinating (and most troubling) interviews in Shoah, namely his dialogue with the former Treblinka guard Franz Suchomel.  By carefully comparing the outtakes of the Suchomel interview with the sequences in Shoah that feature him, McGlothlin is able to reconstruct in minute detail how Lanzmann shaped the testimony of the apparently unrepentant and even gleeful former perpetrator that we encounter in the finished film. 

Erin McGlothlin is Professor of German and Jewish Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.  Her research focuses on Holocaust literature and film and German-Jewish literature. She is the author of Second-Generation Holocaust Literature: Legacies of Survival and Perpetration (2006) and coeditor of three volumes, After the Digital Divide? German Aesthetic Theory in the Age of New Digital Media (2009, with Lutz Koepnick), Persistent Legacy: The Holocaust and German Studies (2016, with Jennifer Kapczynski), and The Construction of Testimony: Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Its Outtakes (2020, with Brad Prager and Markus Zisselsberger).  Her newest book, The Mind of the Holocaust Perpetrator in Fiction and Nonfiction, will appear in early 2021.

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