- Claude Lanzmann
Decades after the interviews were conducted, Lanzmann has compiled a portrait of Benjamin Murmelstein, the last President of the Jewish Council in the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, the only “Elder of the Jews” not to have been killed during the war. A rabbi in Vienna, following the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, Murmelstein fought bitterly with Adolf Eichmann, week after week for seven years, managing to help around 121,000 Jews leave the country, and preventing the liquidation of the ghetto. The portrait reveals Murmelstein as a man blessed with a dazzling intelligence and a true courage, which, along with an unrivaled memory, makes him a wonderfully wry, sardonic and authentic storyteller. The film also provides an unprecedented insight into the genesis of the Final Solution, reveals the true face of Eichmann, and exposes without artifice the savage contradictions of the Jewish Councils.