The Last of the Unjust: Test case of a screen confession

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An analysis of the transcripts of interviews by Claude Lanzmann with Benjamin Murmelstein in the documentary The Last of the Unjust, dealing with Jewish collaboration with the Nazis in World War II, reveals the speaker producing a “screen confession,” an ambiguous text that dissociates between explicit and implicit contents, and while presenting an eloquent and coherent narrative actually rewrites emotional, maybe even factual, history. Unlike Freud's “screen memory,” which refers to the way in which a marginal memory covers another emotionally charged one which cannot be remembered, the notion of screen confession refers not to memory itself but to how it is construed in language. Omitted from this kind of confession are not the concrete facts, but their meaning. Distortion does not attach to the factual details but interferes with the syntax, which plays havoc with the original utterance, taking away its meaning even if its components are accurate and correct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-610
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Psychoanalysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Institute of Psychoanalysis.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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