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The Last Stage

The Last Stage was a 1947 feature film by Wanda Jakubowska, depicting her experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The film was one of the earliest cinematic efforts to describe the Holocaust, and it is still quoted extensively by succeeding directors, including Steven Spielberg in Schindler's List. The film is generally considered a reliable document for a number of reasons, not least because Jakubowska herself was imprisoned in the camp and because it was shot on location, before most of the camp was destroyed or converted into a memorial. Critics argue, however, that the director introduced a cinematic language to her work, adding elements of questionable accuracy. For example, the trains with deportees are shown arriving at night, while most of the trains arrived during the day. While having them arrive at night sets the mood of the film, it does not accurately reflect most of the deportations.

Nevertheless, The Last Stage is an important film in that it paved the way for most other film and television depictions of the concentration camps and the Holocaust.