Faire parler les morts. Sur Jan Karski et la controverse Lanzmann-Haenel

Translated title of the contribution: Making the dead speak

Manuel Braganca

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    The Second World War has inspired many French novelists since 1945. Yet, very few of these novels have been harshly criticized by either historians or other critics, Les Bienveillantes (2006) by Jonathan Littell and Jan Karski (2009) by Yannick Haenel being two notable exceptions. This article revisits the controversy between the novelist Yannick Haenel and the critic and film-maker Claude Lanzmann. First, it shows that the important questions raised by Lanzmann are not void of ambiguity, notably because key terms at the heart of this controversy (truth, fiction or even history) were used loosely. Second, this article compares the documentary Le Rapport Karski (2010) to other texts written by Karski and to the full transcription of the interview he gave to Lanzmann in 1978: it shows how Lanzmann's 2010 documentary distorts Karski's testimony to make it comply with historical perspectives that most historians would agree with today. Finally, the author of this article regrets that this controversy did not allow the debate to move beyond the military non-intervention of the Allies.
    Translated title of the contributionMaking the dead speak
    Original languageFrench
    Pages (from-to)35-46
    Number of pages12
    JournalModern & Contemporary France
    Issue number1
    Early online date14 Nov 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


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