Concerning Claude Lanzmann's "The Last of the Unjust," Andrew O'Hehir wrote this:
I can understand why French documentary filmmaker Claude Lanzmann kept his interviews with Benjamin Murmelstein out of “Shoah,” Lanzmann’s 1985 magnum opus about the Holocaust. Murmelstein was a one-time Viennese rabbi who spent several years working closely with the notorious Adolf Eichmann and who was the final “Jewish Elder,” or community leader, in the ghetto of Theresienstadt (or Terezin, its Czech name), a faux-benevolent Potemkin village erected by the Nazis for propaganda purposes.
To many people in the Jewish world, his name became identified with the way some leaders of Europe’s Jewish community had capitulated to Nazi domination and collaborated with a campaign of mass extermination. Gershom Scholem, the German-born Jewish philosopher and historian, suggested at one point that Murmelstein should be hanged as a traitor.
Murmelstein was a powerful and well-connected figure in the Jewish world; he could easily have emigrated to England as late as 1939. Indeed, he almost did: He accompanied a fellow rabbi to London shortly before the war started, and then returned to Vienna on a nearly empty commercial flight. He could have refused to work with Eichmann and other Nazi commanders, and accepted the alternative: a bullet in the back of the head, or a one-way rail journey to “the East.” (Murmelstein says, by the way, that he didn’t learn the precise nature of what happened to deported Jews in Eastern Europe until 1945, although he knew that none of them ever came back.) Instead, he stayed behind, risking his own life every day in tense diplomatic encounters with murderers and psychopaths. He admits that he relished power and followed a strong drive for self-preservation — largely so that someone would be alive to tell the story. ("The Last of the Unjust," Salon.com)------