Poland to Show Nine Hour Documentary on the Holocaust
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Poland to Show Nine Hour Documentary on the Holocaust

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Poland will show both on television and in cinemas the nine hour film “Shoah,” which describes in painful detail the horrors of the Holocaust and recalls some of the worst incidents of local collaboration with the Nazi authorities.

The screening of the film, first decried by the Warsaw government as “anti-Polish propaganda,” was announced last night by the Polish government spokesman, Jerzy Urban. The film’s director and producer Claude Lanzmann confirmed today in Paris that he has reached an agreement with the Polish government.

Lanzmann said that the Polish authorities wanted to show only parts of the film on television, arguing that nine hours is too long even for a serialization. When Lanzman refused this offer, apparently fearing that some of the scenes decrying Polish collaborators might be cut, Warsaw suggested showing a shortened version on television and the entire film in one or more cinemas. He said he has agreed to this formula and the film will shortly be screened in the country where the Holocaust took place.


When the film was first screened in France the Polish press charged it with carrying anti-Polish propaganda. The Polish Embassy in Paris formally asked the French government to prevent its screening because of “its serious anti-Polish insinuations.” The Polish press also charged the film, and Lanzmann personally, with “forging history.” After high-ranking Polish officials saw the film, the Warsaw authorities apparently changed their view.

The film has not yet been shown on the French or any other television network in the world. It was launched at a preview attended by President Francois Mitterrand and half the French government but it has fared badly in the cinemas which have programmed it. It is currently running in one art cinema in Paris. It will I be shown at the Jerusalem Cinematheque in October.

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