We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

First Films of the Holocaust

Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938–1946

Jeremy Hicks

Publication Year: 2012

Most early Western perceptions of the Holocaust were based on newsreels filmed during the allied liberation of Germany in 1945. Little, however, was reported of the initial wave of material from Soviet filmmakers who were in fact the first to document these horrors. In First Films of the Holocaust, Jeremy Hicks presents a pioneering study of Soviet contributions to the growing public awareness of the horrors of Nazi rule. Even before the war, the Soviet film Professor Mamlock, which premiered in the United States in 1938 and coincided with the Kristallnacht pogrom, helped reinforce anti-Nazi sentiment. Yet, Soviet films were often dismissed or even banned in the West as Communist propaganda. Ironically, in the brief 1939–1941 period of Nazi and Soviet alliance, such films were also banned in the Soviet Union, only to be reclaimed after the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, and suppressed yet again during the Cold War. Jeremy Hicks recovers much of the major film work in Soviet depictions of the Shoa and views them within their political context, both locally and internationally. Overwhelmingly, wartime films were skewed to depict Soviet resistance, “Red funerals,” and calls for vengeance, rather than the singling out of Jewish victims by the Nazis. Almost no personal testimony of victims or synchronous sound was recorded, furthering the disconnection of the viewer to the victims. Hicks examines correspondence, scripts, reviews, and compares edited with unedited film, to unearth the deliberately hidden Jewish aspects of Soviet depictions of the German invasion and occupation. To Hicks, it’s in the silences, gaps, and ellipses that the films speak most clearly. Additionally, he details the reasons why Soviet Holocaust films have been subsequently erased from collective memory in the West and the Soviet Union: their graphic horror, their use as propaganda tools, and the postwar rise of the Red Scare in the United States and anti-Semitic campaigns in the Soviet Union.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Front Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (344.7 KB)
 

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (71.9 KB)
pp. iii-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (267.8 KB)
p. v-v

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.1 KB)
pp. vii-viii

This book emerged from two sources. One primary origin lay in conversations with Howard Jacobs, whom I was lucky enough to teach; with Libby Saxton, a colleague at Queen Mary, University of London; and with Evgenii Tsymbal, a visiting scholar there. The other source was a ...

A NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION

pdf iconDownload PDF (310.2 KB)
p. ix-ix

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (260.8 KB)
pp. 1-17

For many, the Holocaust has become the most important historical event of the twentieth century. Indeed, it has become part of the American experience, providing Americans a point of reference firmer even than the Civil War or Pearl Harbor.1 As an extreme of human behavior, it informs ...

read more

1. “Right Off the Top of the News”: PROFESSOR MAMLOCK AND SOVIET ANTIFASCIST FILM

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 18-43

In May 1939, as viewers watched a screening of the Soviet film Professor Mamlock (Professor Mamlok) at New York’s Thalia Theatre, on Ninety-fifth Street, near Broadway, someone threw a tear-gas bomb into the auditorium. 1 This film, which depicts the Nazi persecution of an initially apolitical ...

read more

2. “The Beasts Have Taken Aim at Us: ”SOVIET NEWSREELS SCREEN THE WAR AND THE HOLOCAUST

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.6 MB)
pp. 44-78

The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 unleashed a new stage of the Holocaust, for the Nazis’ persecution of Jews was no longer limited to humiliation, expulsion, concentration, starvation, and sporadic pogroms. As part of their ideologically conceived war against, as they saw ...

read more

3. Imagining Occupation: PARTISANS AND SPECTRAL JEWS

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.8 MB)
pp. 79-106

The nature of Soviet newsreel and documentary film enabled it to respond quickly to the unexpected challenges of representing the war, and such works began to play a greater and far more important role than they had done previously. The elements intrinsic to feature films, such as writing ...

read more

4. Dovzhenko: MOVING THE BOUNDARIES OF THE ACCEPTABLE

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.9 MB)
pp. 107-133

In contrast to most other wartime Soviet directors of documentaries or features, Aleksandr Dovzhenko went to the front and viewed the aftermath of Nazi atrocities firsthand. Between February and October 1942, he worked first as a journalist and then as an army political instructor; ...

read more

5. Mark Donskoi’s Reconstruction of Babyi Iar: THE UNVANQUISHED

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.0 MB)
pp. 134-156

When Aleksandr Dovzhenko arrived in liberated Kiev in November 1943, his dramatic fall from grace had just commenced, but when Mark Donskoi got there a few months later, in the summer of 1944, he stood at the peak of his reputation as a filmmaker. His earlier film of the Ukrainian occupation ...

read more

6. Liberation of the Camps

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.8 MB)
pp. 157-185

On 24 July 1944 the Red Army liberated the Majdanek death camp, near Lublin, Poland. Despite the catalog of appalling Nazi crimes already uncovered by the Soviets, all who saw the first captured Vernichtungslager were shocked by the industrial efficiency and sheer scale of the murder ...

read more

7. “The Dead Never Lie: ”SOVIET FILM, THE NUREMBERG TRIBUNAL, AND THE HOLOCAUST

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 186-210

From the moment they first began filming Nazi atrocities, in autumn 1941, the Soviets had invoked a legal rationale for doing so. As Roman Karmen said, “every meter of film, every frame, would be a terrifying document denouncing the Fascist hangmen.”1 The footage was to be shown at a future ...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF (337.4 KB)
pp. 211-217

The Unvanquished may be seen as one of several early, faltering attempts by Soviet Jews to rethink their identity by depicting what we now term the Holocaust.1 The Black Book, Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasilii Grossman’s 1945 compilation of Nazi crimes against Soviet Jewry, was another such attempt ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (766.5 KB)
pp. 219-265

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (433.9 KB)
pp. 267-283

Filmography

pdf iconDownload PDF (144.2 KB)
pp. 285-288

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (238.2 KB)
pp. 289-300

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (268.2 KB)
 


E-ISBN-13: 9780822978084
E-ISBN-10: 0822978083
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822962243
Print-ISBN-10: 0822962241

Page Count: 330
Illustrations: 65 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies
Series Editor Byline: Jonathan Harris, Series Editor