Night and Fog [German version GDR 1960]
“Le sang a caillé, les bouches se sont tues,” Jean Cayrol writes. Henryk Keisch translates: “The blood has dried, the mouths have fallen silent.” When Resnais’ film was to be licensed for theatrical release in the GDR, it seemed obvious to resort to the West German dubbed version. But Celan’s translation failed to meet the approval of DEFA. They found fault with elisions that, for example, omitted the deportees from the Soviet Union. The official correspondence ended on an apodictic note: The acquisition was considered “irresponsible”. The writer and translator Henryk Keisch, loyal to the party line, was commissioned to write a new version – and of course made up for Celan’s omissions.