Filmer le retour sur les lieux de la Shoah


Documentary films about return to the places of the Holocaust, persecution and survival belong to manifestations of dark tourism. The film director and the main protagonist (a survivor and/or his descendants) return to Poland or Ukraine seeking to retrace the enigma of the death of family members, or of their own rescue or that of relatives. The quest often becomes a road movie, a criminal inquiry, and even a thriller where the protagonist interviews local witnesses and tries to reconstruct the complex relationships between the Jews and their neighbors during the Holocaust, including betrayal, rescue, and sometimes murder. He is confronted with the void and the absence of traces of history, finding only inadvertently places and objects (tombstones, former synagogues, places of life and death, houses appropriated by neighbors). In these documentaries which run from 1979 to 2015 and in which the personality of the survivor plays a major role, one confronts the spatial dimension of traumatic memory and the complex imbrication of the effects of time passing, obfuscation and glimpses of human tragedy and courage.

Key words : film, documentary, Holocaust , rescue, Jews, Poland, Ukraine, dark tourism, memory.


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Besson, Rémy, 2012, La Mise en récit de Shoah, thèse sous la direction de Christian Delage, Paris, EHESS.

Blejwas, Stanislaus, “Shtetl – In Retrospect”, American Association for Polish Jewish Studies, 1997,

Buchwald, Eve, 2017, entretien avec l’auteur.

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