Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 P.M. | Chicago Reader

Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 P.M.

Claude Lanzmann's 2001 documentary about an uprising of Jews at a Polish death camp. Yehuda Lerner, one of the prisoners who shut down the camp, was only 16 at the time, though he'd already managed to escape from eight Russian camps; Lanzmann interviewed him for his monumental Shoah (1985) but then decided this story deserved a film of its own. Clearly he values the uprising as a rejoinder to the usual charge that Jews offered little resistance to the Nazis (Hannah Arendt omits the incident from her Eichmann in Jerusalem), so it's no surprise when Lerner's testimony culminates in a prolonged recollection of triumphantly killing two German soldiers with an ax. The film's methodology is practically identical to that of Shoah: Lerner's account is translated on-screen from Hebrew into French, which is then subtitled in English (in fact, bits of the Hebrew original are edited out to save time), and sometimes Lanzmann illustrates it with contemporary shots of the places where the events unfolded. 97 min.

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