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“One memorable image from Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah eventually acquired the status of the film’s visual ‘logo’, or signature. It is the smiling face of Henrik Gakowski driving a locomotive against the backdrop of a railroad sign proclaiming ‘Treblinka’. He looks back to the imaginary wagons behind him and slashes his finger across his throat in a gesture of ‘warning’. During the war this warning gesture was used by the Polish man, who worked for the Germans as a locomotive driver, to signal to the ‘ignorant’ Jews crowded in the transport trains leading them to extermination what kind of fate awaited them. (…) Almost a decade later a similar image was used in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. This time, however, the image of warning bore Spielberg’s auteuristic vision. The performer of the warning gesture was not an old Polish man but a small child, and the disturbing ambivalence invoked by Gakowski’s facial expression was replaced by an explicitly sadistic expression. In addition, in Spielberg’s film the trains full of Jews rumble not toward Treblinka but toward Auschwitz, ‘the most significant memorial site of the Shoah'”. (Yosefa Loshitsky, Holocaust Others. Spielberg’s Schindler’s List versus Lanzmann’s Shoah, in Id., Spielberg’s Holocaust, p. 104).

The same gesture returns, ten years later, in Pascal Croci’s graphic novel Auschwitz (2002). Croci is a French comic artist born in 1961. He has worked on the Auschwitz project for five years, doing extensive research and interviewing several Holocaust survivors.


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