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Shoah (1985)

William Lubtchansky , Claude Lanzmann  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Lubtchansky
  • Directors: Claude Lanzmann
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, German, Hebrew, Polish, Yiddish
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 566 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JM8V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,806 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shoah" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

SHOAH is a magical film about the most barbaric act of the 20th century. Previous commentaries on the Holocaust, with its ravished skeletons and corpses, have left us shaken, but now for the first time, we experience it in our heads, in our flesh.

Claude Lanzmann spent eleven years spanning the globe for surviving camp inmates, SS commandants, and eyewitnesses of the Final Solution-the Nazi's effort to systematically exterminate human beings. without dramatic enactment or archival footage, but with extraordinary testimonies, SHOAH renders the step-by-step machinery of extermination: the minutiae of timetables and finances, the logistics of herding victims into the gas chambers and disposing of the corpses afterward, the bureaucratic procedures which expedited the killing of millions of people without mentioning the words "killing" or "people". Through haunted landscapes and human voice, the past comes brilliantly alive.

SHOAH is a heroic endeavor to humanize the inhuman, to tell the untellable. It is an immensely disturbing, even shattering experience, yet in its solemnity and beauty not a morbid or disheartening one. There are few works of art which leave one with such a deep appreciation for the preciousness and meaning of life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, devastating testimony June 29, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I saw Shoah on PBS around the mid-80's and have never forgotten the experience. The documentary was shown in weekly installments. At first, I was just curious, but then I was drawn by the powerful testimony I was witnessing. I remember that while watching the last installments, I was weeping over the depravity and evil that was discussed by the aged survivors. At that time I was a Staff Sergeant with 15 years military service. We are tempted to turn away from the horrendous images and ignore the Holocaust as an anomaly or as something best left in the past. We want to move on. But listening to the stories and watching the faces of the survivors I knew that I must listen very carefully. I must not miss one moment of their testimony. Neither can you. Listen, watch, and learn what evil men can do to fellow man. It's a long, long film but it must be seen in its entirety.
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely powerful! Required viewing on the Holocaust. November 18, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Immensely powerful, disturbing, accurate and heart-rending. The most absorbing production relating to the Holocaust that I have seen.
Here the horrors of the Holocaust are presented by real people in real time. Holocaust survivors, their captors, torturers & executioners are all interviewed on camera.
Any detachment that the reader might have felt in reading books on the subject is destroyed as everything comes to life before your eyes. To actually see apparently 'ordinary' human beings who were responsible for such atrocities, speak about these events with such 'matter of fact', carefree abandon makes one's blood run cold.
This footage is all the more real to me, having personally visited most of the concentration camps referred to and having seen at first hand what is being referred to. Nevertheless, this footage will shock even the most hardened viewer & educate the least informed amongst us on the subject. It really is a 'must view' on the Holocaust.
It is quite lengthy, some 9 hours in all & with subtitles, yet this does not diminish from it's veracity and impact. It is such a shame that this production is not required viewing in our schools. We all need to be educated about this period in our not so recent history, before it happens again.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary of Immense Power September 2, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Lanzmann has fashioned a documentary that should be required viewing in every modern European history class, despite its length. Eschewing archival footage from the '30s and '40s, Lanzmann presents the slaughter of European Jewry through the testimony of the survivors ... surviving inmates, surviving guards ... even surviving neighbors of Auschwitz, who claim to have been unsure just WHAT was going on. For me, the most affecting interview is that with the Jewish Auschwitz barber who tells of how, in a period of 10 minutes, he silently shaved the heads of his wife, best friend and best friend's wife just prior to them being gassed ... none saying a word, so the barber can survive and offer his testimony. I wish I could give this film SIX stars ...
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best movie made about the Holocaust November 6, 2003
By Norm
Format:VHS Tape
It's been 17 years since I watched this movie in a hotel room in Munich on German television. Since that time Hollywood has made their own Holocaust movies, the latest being "The Pianist." By far , "Shoah" is the most meaningful movie that was made about the Holocaust. The shear hypocrisy of the Nazi's false promise to every death camp inmate of "Arbeit Macht Frei" is revealed through the words of the apathetic hypocrits who watched from the sidelines.

It answers the question: Why could this global tragedy happen? It also answers the question: Who were these people who committed the atrocities and where were all the people who bore witness?

The movie asks these questions of the real people who we want to know the answers from. Mr. Lanzman interviews the wife of a concentration camp commandant. Her attitude and her carefully chosen words speak volumes for what she doesn't say. She embodies evil to the nth degree. Her lack of empathy and gross disdain for the 10,000s of Jews that her husband murdered makes you sick to your stomach. And yet she is not guilty of anything more than being an accessory to mass murder and she has never spent a day of her life paying for the sins of her husband. She complains that her life after the war has been hard on her. She wants our pity.

Mr. Lanzman interviews a peasant who lived along the rail line to Birkenau and Auschwitz. The jolly old peasant was proud of how he gesticulated to the hapless souls in the packed railcars how they would have their throats slit soon enough. The peasant made fun of how he convinced many a desparate Jew to throw him their jewelry in exchange for a cup of water - only to not give the Jew the promised water.

There is no ray of hope. There is no triumph of good over evil.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very human experience May 20, 2005
I am about to buy this DVD. I watched this "documentary" about a dozen years ago and have not viewed it since. It has lived with me all these years and often comes to mind. This "documentary" belongs in a category of its own. It is more a human experience than a work of documentary art.

I first viewed Shoah when I was off sick from work. I was recovering from minor surgery that left me immobilized for several days. I rented the entire film and began to watch it over several consecutive days.

For the first hour or so (yes, a long time for most films) I was not really engaged by what I was hearing and seeing. The structure is so simple it borders on boredom. Where many films create "noise" this is not what this subject deserves. With little to distract, the words you hear will pierce the deepest recesses of your being.

Watching and listening I was drawn in by the voices and the cuts from scenery to speaker and back. What you see is not the horrific scenery you might conjure up of sites where the darkest evils took place, but scenes of nature as it would have been and as it is every day, now and then. After all, the darkness of evil is internal.

Try hard to keep watching, do not turn away, and you will change forever. But be prepared emotionally. Like others that have watched this, I wept throughout, it would be hard not to. This is not entertainment and it rises about art. Viewing this film results in a very powerful human experience that will stay with you for the remainder of your life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I collect DVDs,I have over 3,500 and this is part of the collection
Published 3 months ago by R D F
1.0 out of 5 stars Some stories just don't add up
Example: How come the barber shaves the hair off wife and friends' but he himself survives? Would he not also be going with them? Or was he a hired guard? Read more
Published 9 months ago by Anonima
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting And Informative
I am very glad I finally have these DVD's and the book. I have wanted them for years. These DVD's are very good, because Lanzman interviewed people, who were there when the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Elvera Carlsson
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to Revisit Shoah .....
But I'd very much like to see it in Blu-Ray please. I keep checking back hoping to find a release date!
Published on July 7, 2012 by Christopher Beckwith
4.0 out of 5 stars Technical Review of Region 2 DVD PAL Special Edition Only
Enough reviewers have eloquently gone into the wonderful content of this documentary. I'm only weighing in because in addition to the Region 1 US release, I purchased the Region 2... Read more
Published on June 18, 2012 by Arrested Development
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless. A Masterpiece.
It took me over a month to watch Shoah in its 9 1/2 -hour entirety. Unrelentingly intense, each moment is profound. Read more
Published on June 15, 2012 by Kelly Hock
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
I loved this series. It allows the viewer to go deeply inside the Holocaust. The hidden camera footage of former Nazis was incredible, and I do not recall having seen anything... Read more
Published on March 19, 2012 by Kevin J. Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars An extremely valuable document
An extremely valuable document of the extermination of Jews during WWII. The twenty-five years since it's release add a second layer as a document of the 70s, when it was filmed. Read more
Published on January 1, 2012 by Michael Harbour
1.0 out of 5 stars a topic debased by prejudice?
As the son of a member of the Polish underground whose unit Zoska was recognized for saving 350 Jews during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising I would like to say that the emotions of my... Read more
Published on December 26, 2011 by Stefan Komar
4.0 out of 5 stars Relevant
One could find Shoah long winded and it's easier to watch a movie on the subject.But this is 'reality-tv' at its least trivial or dare I say sensationalist. Read more
Published on April 20, 2011 by .fgd
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