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Short interviews near Grabow (Maisons)

Film | Accession Number: 1996.166 | RG Number: RG-60.5039 | Film ID: 3386, 3387, 3388, 3389, 3390, 3391, 3392, 3393, 3394, 3395

Interviews with Polish inhabitants of Grabow, a village located 19 km from the Chelmno extermination camp. Prior to the war, Jews had accounted for over half the population of Grabow. In 1942, all of the approximately 4,000 Jews of Grabow were rounded up, locked in the town's Catholic church, and then transported to Chelmno. In these outtakes, Lanzmann reads a letter written by the rabbi of Grabow in January 1942, detailing the horrors that awaited his people. He conducts short interviews with town residents about their memories of that time, and the outtakes also contain mute shots of town buildings including the church and the synagogue, now a furniture warehouse, as well as of post-war daily life in Grabow.

FILM ID 3386 -- CR# CH 18,19,21,90 Maisons Grabow part 1 -- 01:00:08 to 01:17:55 (Typo on video transfer slate. This tape includes Roll 90 not Roll 20.)
Lanzmann interviews an elderly woman on her doorstep. The home was previously owned by Jews who had a butcher shop. The sound and picture cut out and then return later in the interview several times. As Lanzmann asks questions about her witnessing of the events of 1942, the woman changes her story and insists she does not know what happened to the Jews. Lanzmann then interviews a man who says he was friends with many Jews as a child, and 'speaks Jewish,' though he can produce no Yiddish. The man recollects on his memories of wartime-- he provided food to German soldiers, and therefore had a special permit which allowed him freer mobility. He remembers seeing Jews being loaded into trucks for transport to Chelmno, and tells of one Jew who collected others' gold and gave it to the Germans. The man tells of having gone to Chelmno three days after its closure, and seeing human bones, gold teeth, and ashes scattered everywhere. Two women standing on the stoop with the gentleman being interviewed remember the perceived beauty of Jewish women prior to the war, as well as the remarkable power they felt Jews had in society. Some cuts taken from this roll CH 19, CH 21, and CH 90 and used in the final film.

FILM ID 3387 -- CR# CH 18,19,21,90 Maisons Grabow part 2 -- 02:00:08 to 02:01:04 (Typo on video transfer slate. This tape includes Roll 90 not Roll 20.)
Various shots of interviewees in Grabow, standing in front of their homes, matching scenes in CH 19 and CH 90. The only sound is that of the cameraman.

TAPE 3388 -- CR# CH 1-6 Grabow Moulin (White 24) part 1 -- 03:00:08 to 03:12:09
03:00:03 Audio cuts in and out; shots of men with horse-drawn carts on the road next to Grabow's mill. 03:01:27 Lanzmann asks a man questions while he loads his cart in front of the mill. He asks who owns the mill, and the man replies that it is state-owned, but that before the war it was owned by a man who is now dead. Lanzmann asks whether the man knows what happened at Chelmno, and he replies that of course he does, but that he was in Germany during the war. Lanzmann asks others of the group of men who have gathered around what they know about Chelmno. One says that they knew what was happening, but that they were not allowed inside. When he would pass the camp, he could see how they transported Jews there. 03:03:36 Interview with one of the mill workers from a different angle-- horse carts are visible in the background, and the camera is zoomed in on the gentleman's face. He explains that before the war, Jews made up a majority of the population of Grabow. They were transported to Chelmno in horse-drawn carts. There was a ghetto in Grabow, even though it is a small town. Every small town had two or three streets that were closed off, where Jews lived and were monitored. He explains that Jews were rounded up and shut inside the church, and were then transported to Chelmno. There, the Jews were 'burnt naked.' As the gentleman talks, the camera pans to the street, where a group of people has gathered to watch the interview taking place. Lanzmann asks the man whether he remembers the town's rabbi, and whether the mill belonged to a Jew. He replies that no, it belonged to a German before and during the war. Jews were generally tanners, tailors, merchants, etc. Lanzmann asks whether there were religious Jews living in Grabow before the war, 'with beards.' The man replies that there were. 03:09:43-03:12:05 The picture cuts in and out, audio continues. The man tries to answer Lanzmann's question of whether he is upset that the Jews are gone. He says that 'it is impossible to say.' He says that the Jews were not trustworthy. He is upset, however, that the Jews were gassed.

FILM ID 3389 -- CR# CH 1-6 Grabow Moulin (White 24) part 2 -- 04:00:08 to 04:02:50
The atmosphere of Grabow. 03:59:54 Shots of horse-drawn carts lined up along the road, waiting to reach Grabow's mill. 04:01:14 Shaky picture of one of the mill's brick walls. Lanzmann asks a man (whom he later interviews more formally) whether he is from Grabow and whether he was there during the war. The man unloads sacks from his cart while he replies to Lanzmann, and Lanzmann tells him that he wants to speak with him more, once he deposits his sacks inside the mill. Brief shots of Lanzmann and his translator, Barbara.

FILM ID 3390 -- Grabow Village No. 30 (White 25) -- 05:00:08 to 05:20:20
Sound in and out on entire reel. A crowd of onlookers watches as Lanzmann and his crew interview several residents in quick succession. Children laugh as one rowdy (drunk) man goofs off for the camera, and later interrupts an interview, scaring Lanzmann's interviewee away from the camera. Lanzmann asks them each to recollect on wartime in Grabow, and one man genuinely still does not know how the Jews were killed in Chelmno, just 19 km away.

FILM ID 3391 -- Grabow Le Village (White 26) -- 06:00:08 to 06:30:21
Various scenes of daily life in Grabow during different seasons. Audio and picture both cut in and out periodically. No interviews. 05:59:47 Road sign denoting Grabow, with a cow on the road next to it. People walking up and down a sidewalk on a busy residential street. Rows of houses in Grabow. A horse-drawn cart rolls down the road toward the camera. The postman makes deliveries on a motorbike. A woman stands in the doorway of her home, while traffic passes in the street in front of her. Three men sit outside of a store. An elderly woman stares out at the camera from an upstairs windows. Various building exteriors in Grabow. The town square with a statue of the Virgin Mary. Construction workers stand in a second-floor window of a building project. Horse-drawn carts lined up in the road on a winter's day. Street scenes, taken from a moving car. Facade of the town church. Rows of houses on tree-lined streets in spring.

FILM ID 3392 -- Grabow Synagogue (White 27) -- 07:00:08 to 07:18:14
06:59:43 Lanzmann stands in front of Grabow's synagogue, and reads a letter written on January 19, 1942 by its rabbi, HaRav Yaacov Sylman, to friends in Lodz. The letter warns his friends of the horrors transpiring at Chelmno, and urges them to believe what he has written. He writes, "I am so weary that my pen can write no more. Creator of the universe, come to our aid." Lanzmann adds that the Jews of Grabow were transported to Chelmno and killed just a few weeks later. 07:01:30 CU of Lanzmann's face. Lanzmann reads the same letter twice more. 07:04:52 No sound, various shots of the synagogue exterior, the sign above the door reads 'meble' [furniture], now a furniture factory. 07:12:14 No sound, the church exterior, and the view from the church of the synagogue down the street. 07:15:25 More exterior shots of the synagogue, including some with sound (background street noise).

FILM ID 3393 -- Grabow Le Marche (White 28) -- 08:00:08 to 08:12:52
No sound, scenes of daily life in Grabow, including an open-air market, picture cuts out briefly. Grabow citizens frequent the market, engage in conversation, drive carts around the town center. Piles of wicker furniture, baskets, brooms for sale. CUs of individual market-goers. 08:09:02 Sound reel cuts in, a man and child drive their cart (loaded with a pig) down the road away from the camera. A horse and cart roll past a modest home.

FILM ID 3394 -- Grabow La Paille (White 29) -- 09:00:08 to 09:05:17
A man drives a cart laden with hay out of his field and down a road. Sound reel cuts out, a woman walks through the field with a child. The hay wagon moves slowly away from the camera through fields.

FILM ID 3395 -- Repiquage Denteile eglise Grabow -- 10:00:38 to 10:08:57
No picture, sound only -- indiscernible snippets of interviews as well as background noise.

Genre
Outtake
Duration
02:11:00
Event Date
August 1978? Winter 1978/1979?
Locale
Grabow, Poland
Language
French
Mute
Polish
Genre/Form
Outtakes.
Credit
Created by Claude Lanzmann during the filming of "Shoah," used by permission of USHMM and Yad Vashem
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Record last modified: 2018-03-07 13:22:44
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1004445
Previous location: http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/fv5356