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Claude Lanzmann, director of Holocaust documentary ‘Shoah’, dies at 92

Joel Robine, AFP | French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann pictured in 1985, the year "Shoah" was released.

French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, who was best known for the epic documentary “Shoah” – a nine-and-a-half hour long account of the Holocaust – has died in Paris at the age of 92.


Lanzmann’s death was first reported by French newspaper Le Monde, and later confirmed by his publisher Gallimard.

Lanzmann was born on November 27, 1925, in Bois-Colombes, a small suburb northwest of Paris. His family emigrated to France from eastern Europe at the end of the 19th century.

He fought in the resistance in the central French city of Clermont-Ferrand during World War II. Following the war, he met the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom he became close. Lanzmann lived with Sartre’s longtime companion Simone de Beauvoir from 1952-1959. He worked alongside de Beauvoir and Sartre on the journal Les Temps Modernes, which was founded by them in 1945, and became its chief editor after de Beauvoir's death in 1986.

The filmmaker garnered widespread acclaim in 1985 for the documentary “Shoah”, which tells the story of the Holocaust through a series of interviews with both perpetrators and survivors. It took Lanzmann 11 years to make and won several prominent awards, including the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best non-fiction film.

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