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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History



By Gilberte JACARET

Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris.

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L'opérateur Avenir Sofin au front.
© RGAKFD. Image retravaillée par Michel Bouvet, affichiste

To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the opening of the camps by the Allies, the Memorial of the Shoah is hosting an unprecedented exhibition on footage of the Holocaust filmed by Soviet cameramen.
The geography of military operations between 1941 and 1945 meant that only Soviets were able to film the aftermath of the Holocaust in all its magnitude, its systematic nature and its variety of killing methods. The hundreds of images in this exhibition show the opening of death pits and traces of mass executions in Eastern Europe, the liberation of the concentration camps the extermination of the Jews.

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The « sovietisation » obscures Jewishness. The victims are peaceful Soviet citizens, the Jews slaughtered at Babi Yar : « residents of Kiev », the Drobitski Yar ravine near Karkov is called a « mass grave » and shown in the middle of images of tortured and hanged partisans. The narrative imposed is that the enemy had a plan to destroy the Soviet State and exterminate its population without making any distinctions between nationality, social condition, sex or age. The euphemism "peaceful Soviet citizens" was increasingly used in reference to Holocaust victims.