The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the World War II genocide of the European Jews. Between 1941 and 1945, across German-occupied Europe, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population. The murders were carried out in pogroms and mass shootings; by a policy of extermination through work in concentration camps; and in gas chambers and gas vans in German extermination camps, chiefly Auschwitz, Bełżec, Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór, and Treblinka in occupied Poland.
Deaths: Around 6 million Jews
Other victims of Nazi persecution during the Holocaust era: 11 million
Over the years, the holocaust has become a genre of its own in cinema with survival, death, and hate being the prevalent themes. Regardless of the proliferating number of films, the number of films pales in comparison to the number of stories that are yet to be told. Artists have always derived art from tragedies and the holocaust is a tragedy of unprecedented proportions, which makes it a gold mine for human stories.
From 1941 with The Night Train to Munich, the holocaust, the people, and their stories have been represented in numerous narrative films by masters such as Sidney Lumet and Stanley Krammer to emerging filmmakers such as László Nemes and Amy Schatz. Documentary filmmakers have been equally pivotal in capturing the horrors and passing on to the following generations, with Claude Lanzmann being the most prominent name.
Holocaust is not history. It’s been a mere 7 decades since the horrors transpired. The survivors are still breathing. So is the hate that instigated these horrors. Which is what led to The Holocaust Film Project.
There’s plenty to learn from the grave mistakes of the past, a million stories to be heard, a few hundreds of movies to be seen, and most importantly – the responsibility to share these stories with more and more people, and make them understand the gravity of horrors from the very recent past. This project is a tiny step to achieve all of these in my individual capacity.
Film #1, October 6, 2020: Toyland
Film #2, October 14, 2020: The Diary of Anne Frank
Image credit: Getty Images