A Visitor From the Living
Description: In 1979, while preparing Shoah, his eight-and-a-half hour documentary on witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust, Claude Lanzmann filmed an interview with Maurice Rossel, who in 1944 was a representative of the Swiss Red Cross. In an official capacity, Rossel was asked to inspect Theresienstadt, a ghetto where Nazis housed wealthy and socially prominent Jews who were being temporarily spared from execution. Lanzmann felt the interview would not fit into his film, and he has now used it as the basis for this separate film. In his interview, Rossel admits that he gave Theresienstadt a clean bill of health and would probably do so again today, and that he was also given a tour of Auschwitz, which he did not realize was a death camp despite the sullen, haunted looks he received from the inmates. Lanzmann's line of questioning eventually raises the issues of to what degree Rossel and others like him were manipulated by the Nazis -- and to what degree they were willing to be manipulated as a consequence of their own politics and prejudices.~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
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