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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Jeremy Hicks, First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938-46

4 February 2012

Time: 7:00pm
Venue: Arts One, G19 (Hitchcock Cinema) Mile End Campus. 4 February 2012, 6pm

Cinematic representation of the Holocaust is usually thought to begin with US and British footage of the liberation of the camps, in 1945. This book examines films made prior to that, by Soviet filmmakers, who began to make movies condemning Nazi Anti-Semitism in the late 1930s, and started to depict the Nazi mass murder of the Jews after the June 1941 German invasion of the USSR. These first films to depict and denounce the Holocaust constitute cinema’s initial attempts to grasp the enormity of what was happening. They are pioneering, but deeply flawed, as the Soviet official account refused to accept the Jewish dead as a separate category of the Nazis’ victims, instead viewing them as part of the overall Soviet death toll. This attitude towards the war and Holocaust meant the films have been forgotten or ignored in Russian archives, and by the wider world. Even where they were seen they were discounted and distrusted as the product of the Soviet propaganda machine. The end of the Cold War and use of unpublished archive sources means First Films of the Holocaust now brings these neglected works to public attention enabling a reassessment of the history of Holocaust cinema.
Dr Jeremy Hicks is a Senior Lecturer in Russian at the School of Languages, Linguitics and Film, QMUL. He will talk about his book, showing clips to illustrate the footage he has found. He will be joined in conversation by:
Professor James Gow, Kings College London (Co-Director of the War Crimes Research Group at King's College London)
Dr Toby Haggith, Senior Curator, Department of Research, Imperial War Museum
All welcome, but places are limited so please email to confirm attendance.

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