Daniel Blaufuks’s video Als Ob/As If formally interrogates the history of Holocaust imagery using a close visual examination of the 1944 “Staged Nazi Film” shot in Thereseinstadt. Layering his footage from present-day Terezín with a number of earlier films and television shows shot at or about the Nazi concentration camp, he contemplates the role of the image, both still and moving, in the creation of memory and history of the Holocaust. His video and phototextual book connect to literary explorations of the Czech concentration camp—by Georges Perec, W. G. Sebald, and Jiří Weil—as well as cinematic documentaries about the Nazi murder of European Jews by Alain Resnais, Claude Lanzmann, and Jean-Luc Godard. By focusing on contemporary Terezín, Blaufuks also brings to light aspects of memorialization within post-totalitarian societies investigated by filmmakers Petra Epperlein and Chantal Akerman, as well as by scholars of the Holocaust and post-Soviet Eastern Europe.
It’s Still There: The Vanishing Point of Daniel Blaufuks’s Als Ob/As If
Paula Rabinowitz is professor emerita of English, University of Minnesota, and editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Literature. She is the author of American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street (2014) and They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary (1994). She is currently working on a project entitled “Cold War Dads,” on fathers and the national security state.
Paula Rabinowitz; It’s Still There: The Vanishing Point of Daniel Blaufuks’s Als Ob/As If. boundary 2 1 February 2020; 47 (1): 115–143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-7999532
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