Tourist groups run through the camera. A teenaged boy walks his way with the a printed shirt saying “Cool Story Bro” looking pretty board. Only after 10 minutes when the inscription “Arbeit macht frei” is seen in the picture does the audience notice where Sergei Loznitsa film Austerlitz is shot. The director observed the visitors at memorials such as Dachau or Sachsenhausen and showed that remembrance culture in relation to the Nazi-regime is fading. It becomes quite clear that the visitors of concentration camps are no longer able to reflect on the events of the holocaust if a man quickly eats up his sandwich before entering a gas chamber or two girls pose in front of “Arbeit macht frei” with a huge smile. It seems as if these memorials have become curiosity cabinets.
Sergei Loznitsa met with the DOK Spotters to answer a few questions about his film Austerlitz.
In which moment did you decide to make this film?
Why are visitors so keen on taking photos of the crematorium?
What did you find strange about the visitors?
How can we get to a better reflection of the Holocaust?
If you had to reduce the film to one single shot, which one would you choose?