Lanzmann’s judgement, which extended far beyond the specific instance of Spielberg’s film, was in keeping with the position on that subject that he had long since formulated with his own documentary, Shoah (1985, 1st Part, 2nd Part). Lanzmann’s film is a work of indirect representation, in which survivors talk about those who were murdered; in which benign-seeming landscapes stand in for the historical "Bloodlands" (Timothy Snyder); in which an “absolute horror” is evoked by absolute "omission" (Gertrud Koch) – Lanzmann dispenses completely with allegedly documentary images of the annihilation. In doing so, he draws "the boundary between what is aesthetic and imaginable and the unimaginable magnitude of the annihilation" (Koch). From that unimaginability sprung Lanzmann’s policy of irrepresentability, which contributed to a great degree to the “sacralisation of the Holocaust” (Peter Novick).
But despite any debate over its significance, Lanzmann’s colossal work Shoah has nonetheless since then proved to be immune to closure. With Sobibor, 14 Octobre 1943, 16 Heures, Lanzmann produced a shorter film about the "reappropriation of force and violence by the Jews" that carries the same weight of historical-political logic as the significantly longer film about the extermination. Increasingly, additional clusters of material not used in Shoah have been, and are being, made available. Lanzmann has “extracted” one chapter on Jan Karski, and his film Un Vivant Qui Passe (A Visitor From The Living,1997) is also, in the broad sense, part of the Shoah complex. Even some of the footage of his interviews with the controversial Jewish Elder in Theresienstadt, Benjamin Murmelstein, is available and Lanzmann plans to use that material as the basis for his next film, Last of the Unjust. So vis-à-vis the many forms of reappraising history, Shoah holds an authoritative place as documentation, memorial and case study, not least inasmuch as the term Shoah (from the Hebrew for "catastrophe") has, in intellectual discourse, replaced the term Holocaust, with its original meaning of sacrifice.