Philosophy of the Arts


Representing the shoah—of course that is possible, depending on what you want from it.

Rex Bloomstein: KZ

Crimes make images Perceptions do not produce images, or mental representations, in the mind. The images are out there. We see the things before us and the events which take place around us directly. If we remind ourselves of an event from the past somehow we re-perceive it. Even in such cases, it makes no…

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Iconising the Holocaust

Perhaps, Claude Lanzmann, in his review of Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, assumes that representations of the Holocaust of necessity become iconic images, assuming, also, that some images shouldn’t be allowed to: photos and films of real events shouldn’t (but why?), nor should pictures of stereotypical Jews (most of these stereotypes stem from Nazi propaganda films), or…

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Historical Sensations in Shoah

One of the assets of Claude lanzmann’s film Shoah is this that it presents moral witnesses in places that are sure to stir their memories. Lanzmann did not invite them over to the studio for an interview, nor did he visit them in their own homes. The relevant places are either historical sites (the camps;…

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Representing a token of a type

“But how can he tell what the holocaust was, if he is telling the story of a German who saved 1300 jews, while the overwhelming majority of the jews was not saved? Even when he shows the moment of the deportation to the Cracau ghetto, or the camp officer shooting at the deported, how can he do justice, even then, to the normalcy of the procedure of murder, the machinery of the extermination? It did not go like that for everyone. In Treblinka, or in Auschwitz, the possibility of salvation was inconceivable.” (Lanzmann). … (read on)

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Lanzmann and Lang

Claude Lanzmann argued (a.o.) that the Shoah cannot be represented (photographically, I would want to add). He states this clearly in explaining what he would do had he found documentary footage. Now if something cannot be represented, then surely it can be misrepresented. (Rather, every representation of it would be a misrepresentation.) This leads to…

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The Moral Witness

Their Peculiar Contribution What if we’d introduce a distinction between the epistemology of the narrative and the sincerity of testimonials of experiential memories that anchor the narrative—liberating the moral witness from having to answer epistemological challenges. the truth of a witnesses testimony is allowed to be idiosyncratic, because what it arguably does is contribute an…

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