By Sabrina McFarland,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Holocaust narratives share sorrow of the era in epic docu.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Never forget the past. Intolerance is unacceptable.
Positive Role Models
Residents near concentration camps recall offering water to prisoners. "You can be killed for giving a glass of water," says one individual, "but we gave them water anyway." Survivors recollect involvement in the Resistance movement against Nazis.
Violence & Scariness
References include prisoners placed in crematoriums and gas chambers and vans, bodies crushed into powdered bone and deposited into rivers, and corpses put in ditches and buried in mass graves. Other mentions include prisoners shot, beaten, or committing suicide, thrown on top of each another in railroad cars, and asked to undress by camp guards for the "disinfection squad."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Claims made by Polish women about the competition they encounter with Jewish women for romantic relationships with Polish men.
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Swear words include "a--hole," "hell," and “s--t." Slurs include "bastards," "filthy swine," and use of the anti-Semitic phrases such as "Final Solution," "Jewish problem," and "Jew language."
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Products & Purchases
Storefront signage of businesses. Images of Saurer trucks and allegations of their use by Nazi officials to transport Holocaust prisoners to concentration camps.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Images include packs of cigarettes as well as the director, a language translator, and interviewees smoking. Glasses of beer and bottles of alcohol are displayed inside a restaurant. There's a discussion about vodka given as a form of payment instead of cash to train workers to use it to relieve their stress from the sound of screams and smell of the prisoners inside railroad cars. Mentions include an individual reportedly using barbiturates to end their life, and claims of another person drinking heavily.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shoah is a nearly 10-hour documentary about survivors, witnesses, and others who share their accounts of the horror of the Holocaust. The film doesn't show archival or graphic footage and contains English subtitles. References include prisoners placed in crematoriums and gas chambers and vans, bodies crushed into powdered bone and deposited into rivers, and corpses put in ditches and buried in mass graves. Other mentions include prisoners being shot, beaten, or committing suicide, thrown on top of each another in railroad cars, and asked to undress by camp guards for the "disinfection squad." Swear words include "a--hole," "hell," and "s--t." Slurs include "bastards," "filthy swine," and use of anti-Semitic phrases such as "Final Solution," "Jewish language," and "Jew problem." There are images that include the director, a language translator, and interviewees smoking. Bottles of alcohol and glasses of beer. There's a discussion about vodka given as a form of payment to train workers to use it to relieve their stress from the sound of screams and smell of prisoners.
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Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
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What's the Story?
SHOAH is a nearly 10-hour documentary from French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann. Originally released in 1985, it features interviews with Holocaust survivors and others who share their personal stories about the murder and persecution of Jewish people by the Nazis.
Is It Any Good?
Lanzmann, who is also a journalist, uses solid interviewing skills to reveal unspeakable Holocaust memories through first-person testimonies. "Every day, we saw thousands and thousands of innocent people disappear up the chimney," reveals Shoah's Filip Müller, a Slovak Jew and survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. "There they came, men, women, children, all innocent. They suddenly vanished, and the world said nothing! We felt abandoned. By the world, by humanity." Shoah remains today an essential film to educate about the history of the Holocaust and the issue of intolerance.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the courage of the Holocaust survivors. How do they also demonstrate communication, perseverance, and teamwork?
Why is there hatred of the Jewish people by the Nazis? What is the policy known as the "Final Solution" used against Jewish people?
What impact did the Holocaust have on the world? Why should the Holocaust be remembered today?
What may be the reasons for the increase of anti-Semitism in society now?
How can learning about the history of intolerance from the past help in the present?
- In theaters: October 23, 1985
- On DVD or streaming: March 2, 2021
- Cast: Abraham Bomba, Raul Hilberg, Filip Müller
- Director: Claude Lanzmann
- Studio: IFC Films
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: History
- Character Strengths: Communication, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 565 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Award: BAFTA
- Last updated: August 28, 2022
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Where to Watch
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