Shoah, Legendary Docu about Holocaust, Screens This Month at Hibbleton Gallery
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Shoah, Legendary Docu about Holocaust, Screens This Month at Hibbleton Gallery

This Wednesday, and every Wednesday throughout September, Hibbleton Gallery will screen the 1985 French documentary film Shoah. Shoah is a lengthy investigative documentary in which filmmaker Claude Lanzmann interviews survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, concentrating on the death camps of Treblinka and Aushwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno and the Warsaw Ghetto.

Of any film discussing this subject, Shoah carries several distinctions: it uses no archival footage of the event, relying on present-day footage of its subjects, and some of the interviews were recorded without permission from the interviewees. The film is also quite controversial for filmmaker Lanzmann's open indictment of the Polish people of the film, for what he views as their complicity throughout the event (just like Art Spiegelman would do the same years later in Maus. The post-screening discussion will allow audience members to dissect each segment of the film to digest it properly.

Shoah's runtime is for a whopping ten hours and is divided into four parts. Each part will be screened separately on a Wednesday throughout September, for free and open to the public. The following is some detailed information on the separate screenings that will take place, courtesy of the gallery's Facebook event page. Wednesday, September 10 "First Era: Part One" focuses on the Chelmno death camps through the eyes of Polish survivors Simon Srebnik and Michal Podchlebnik. Srebnik describes in detail his experience of having to sing songs to entertain Nazi guards, while Podchlebnik escaped death in the gas chambers, a fate that befell many Polish Jews in the Chelmno camp, including Podchlebnik's own family.

Wednesday, September 17 "First Era: Part two" follows interviews with former German officers Franz Sucholmel and Franz Schalling, who discuss working the death camps of Treblinka. Sucholmel was convicted of war crimes for his time as an officer, and describes how he discovered the existence of gas chambers in Treblinka.

Wednesday, September 24 "Second Era: Part One" captures the reflections of Abraham Bomba, who worked as a barber cutting the hair of prisoners before their turn in the gas chamber. Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg is also interviewed on the subject of Nazi propaganda, which serves as the basis for one of his texts The Destruction of the European Jews.

Wednesday, October 1 "Second Era: Part Two" features more testimonies from survivors of the Auschwitz death camps as well as interviews with former inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto, who describe memories of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, a mobilized effort within the ghetto meant to stop the impending transport of Jews to extermination camps.

History buffs should definitely make their way to Fullerton to catch this rarely-screened film, as it's unlikely it will be screened elsewhere for a while. All screenings start at 8 p.m., with some light refreshments for visitors. See you there!

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