Lawrence L. Langer: A Life In Testimony

By Stephen Naron - February 1, 2024

Larry once said, “There are people who don’t want to hear about the Holocaust, and to those people I say, ‘Fine, that’s your prerogative. But if you want to understand the nature of the world that we’ve been living in for the last hundred years, you cannot ignore the Holocaust.’”

To which we can add, “If you want to understand the nature of the Holocaust, you cannot ignore Lawrence Langer.”

The field of Holocaust studies could not have had a more constructive critic. Larry exercised an uncanny ability to reveal unconscious motives lurking beneath much of what passes for Holocaust scholarship, pointing out, for example, that foregrounding resistance or emphasizing survival as proof of the human spirit tells us nothing about the realities of history and much about the naïve hope for salvaging something meaningful from a place devoid of meaning. His was a sober assessment that did not always win him friends but unfailingly won him admirers and garnered the highest respect of the academic community.

Since our first meeting in the 1990s, when he was a generous advisor to the documentary “Witness: Voices from the Holocaust,” there had been talk of making a film that would convey a sense of Larry’s contribution to the field in his own words. He seemed very pleased by the results, which portray not only key messages from one of the leading voices in Holocaust scholarship but also a sense of the person behind the voice, the motives behind his career and the impact sixty years of immersion had on a critical observer of history’s darkest hour.

Please join us in honoring Larry's life and work by watching our film: Lawrence L. Langer: A Life In Testimony.

Joshua M. Greene
Writer/Producer, “A Life in Testimony”