VHH Research Seminar – Session 11: By Filming, by Writing. Photographic Testimonies of the Nazi Camps

Presentation by Christophe Cognet

In the 11th session of CERCEC's H2020 "Visual History of the Holocaust" Research Seminar, Christophe Cognet (film director, screenwriter, author) discusses ethical questions raised by photographs taken in secrecy in the Nazi camps.

Given that men and women risked their lives to transmit images of the most horrible Nazi crimes, we – as their inheritors – must view and analyse them. Based on the experience of writing a book (“Éclats”) and making a film (“From where they stood”) on the same collection of photographs taken in secrecy in the Nazi camps, in his talk, Christophe Cognet examines the practices of writing and filmmaking in relation to these Lazarean images (Jean Cayrol). He discusses them as traces of the visible and the invisible in all their dimensions as well as in all their “charges” – emotional, documentary, artistic, philosophical, legal, intimate and perceptive. The talk focuses on the question of appropriateness: in what way are these images “right”, what is their part of the truth and what do they attest to? What of their content can we even read as a sign? And we, who observe these images with the comfort of our distance from the events they attempt to describe, what is our ethic of viewing them, writing about them and remembering their producers via them?

Translation from French to English will be done by Delphine Pallier.

H2020 “Visual History of the Holocaust”. Research Seminar 2021–2022:

As part of the Horizon 2020 project “Visual History of the Holocaust”, this seminar focuses on film documents created by Soviet filmmakers during the liberation of Nazi-occupied territories. The history of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, the literature on mass violence, and the history of still and moving images serve to contextualize this little-known corpus of Soviet film images documenting Nazi crimes. Participants are invited to examine the period from 1941 to 1947, and thus to consider the different phases in which the identity of the victims was explicitly discussed or ignored. The seminar aims to engage in a dialog about the visual traces of Nazi atrocities in Central and Eastern Europe and the USSR. The Research Seminar 2021–2022 is hosted by CERCEC and coordinated by Valérie Pozner and Irina Tcherneva.


For participation please register by sending an email (Subject: VHH Research Seminar Registration) to Irina Tcherneva (irina.tcherneva@palimpsestes.net).

Upcoming Sessions:

Thursday, June 16, 2022, 16:00–18:00 CET
Thomas Chopard (CERCEC): “Writing the history of the Holocaust and of mass-violence in Nazi-occupied Kharkov”

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VHH Research Seminar – Session 11: By Filming, by Writing. Photographic Testimonies of the Nazi Camps

Thursday, 09.06.2022, 16:00

Christophe Cognet: Presentation in CERCEC's H2020 "Visual History of the Holocaust" Research Seminar.

This event poster shows a film still depicting three people standing on a meadow with trees.
Research Seminar
Thursday, 09.06.2022, 16:00
Thursday, 09.06.2022, 18:00
(GMT+02:00) Vienna (Summertime)