Northern Michigan University English Professor Marek Haltof recently published a book titled "Screening Auschwitz: Wanda Jakubowska’s 'The Last Stage' and the Politics of Commemoration." The book examines the first narrative film to portray the infamous Nazi German concentration and extermination camp. "The Last Stage" was released in 1948 and directed by Jakubowska, an Auschwitz survivor.
The Polish film introduced images that have become representative of the conditions in the concentration camps. These include the arrival of transport trains, the separation of families and the powerful images of belongings left behind by those who were sent to the gas chambers. These images helped to establish many of the powerful themes used in several later Holocaust films, including "The Diary of Anne Frank," "Sophie’s Choice" and "Schindler’s List."
"Screening Auschwitz" discusses the unusual circumstances that surrounded the film’s production on location at Auschwitz and summarizes critical debates surrounding the film’s release. The book offers a wealth of new materials and research about the Holocaust to an English-speaking audience. It was published by Northwestern University Press in Evanston, Ill.
Reviewer Marat Grinberg stated, “This meticulously researched, very informative and valuable book will make an important contribution to the fields of Holocaust and Polish film studies." Another scholar, Stuart Liebman, wrote, “The originality and quality of the scholarship on display in this book is extremely high. Haltof’s use of sources greatly expands the frame and depth of his analysis, and few researchers who have worked on Jakubowska’s arguably most important work have ever tapped these sources before.”
Haltof has published several books in both English and Polish on the cultural histories of central European and Australian film. His recent books include "Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema," "Polish Film and the Holocaust: Politics and Memory," "The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski: Variations on Destiny and Chance," and "Polish National Cinema."