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Case Study: “Above all, we need the WITNESS”: The Oral History of Holocaust Survivor

Abstract and Keywords

Holocaust survivor and witness accounts began long before the Second World War ended. Diaries, journals, letters, notes hidden, buried, and stuffed into jars or between floor boards were mostly lost and destroyed, but those that have been recovered express desperation to tell, to document, to bear witness, and to commemorate. This article records the oral history of holocaust survivors. Together with the countless thousands of testimonies that would be recorded during the next sixty years, these eyewitness accounts would change the face of research and education, not only in the field of Holocaust studies but across academic boundaries. Together with the countless thousands of testimonies that would be recorded during the next sixty years, these eyewitness accounts would change the face of research and education, not only in the field of Holocaust studies but across academic boundaries. The second half of the twentieth century saw a renewed interest in holocaust narratives.

Keywords: Holocaust survivor, journals, Second World War, oral history, holocaust studies

Holocaust survivor and witness accounts began long before the Second World War ended. Diaries, journals, letters, notes hidden, buried, and stuffed into jars or between floorboards were mostly lost and destroyed, but those that have been recovered express a desperation to tell, to document, to bear witness, and to commemorate. Testimony collection also began throughout Europe during the war and continued in its immediate aftermath, gathered primarily by Jewish volunteers, Jewish institutions, and refugee organizations.1 By 1948 many thousands of testimonies had been collected: the Committee of Liberated Jews (CHC) had amassed about 2,550 throughout Europe; and the Zydowski Instytut Historyczyny (ZIH) had taken more than 7,000 testimonies from Poland alone. By 1950 the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York had collected more than 1,200 first-person accounts; and by the time it was formally established in 1953, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Israel, held 15,000 testimonies in its archives.

(p. 245) Together with the countless thousands of testimonies that would be recorded during the next sixty years, these eyewitness accounts would change the face of research and education, not only in the field of Holocaust studies but across academic boundaries.

Survivors needed to let the world know about the unspeakable devastation that had been wreaked upon them, their families, and their way of life; and because the many Jewish committees, commissions, and institutions were encouraging them to do so, thousands recorded their first-person accounts in the immediate postwar years. Although classified in various archives and repositories as “oral histories,” they were not recorded on tape, but were either written responses to questionnaires or at best were conversations “transcribed” or summarized by the collecting institutions' staff.

The First Survivor Oral Histories

The first “true” oral histories of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust were conducted and recorded on a wire recorder by the unlikely figure of David Boder, a psychologist on the faculty of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. An immigrant from Eastern Europe, Dr. Boder was born in Latvia and educated in Lithuania, Germany, and Russia, conversant in a number of languages that would serve him well. Boder conducted interviews in 1946 in Displaced Persons (DP) camps in France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.2 These interviews, ranging from twenty minutes to four hours in length, were deposited in the Library of Congress but not discovered until 1998.

Boder's interviewing methodologies preceded current practices and understanding of trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and are shocking to the twenty-first-century oral historian. In a 1946 interview with Alexander Gertner, nineteen years old, inarticulate, and not particularly forthcoming but imparting a horrific testimony, Boder thanked him abruptly and tried to conclude the interview. But Gertner said politely, “I would like a few more words …” and proceeded to add, “My Jewish name is Sholom … my mother was née Gonz.” It is a heartbreaking moment and to his credit, Boder continued the interview, asking Gertner to spell his mother's maiden name and say more about his family.3 Today we know, as Lawrence Langer observed, that every survivor's story is defined “not merely by its own survival; but by the destruction of others,” and interviewers offer as much opportunity as interviewees need to commemorate those who perished.4

The Boder interviews are shocking in other ways as well. The atrocities of the Holocaust were new to the interviewer. He asked witnesses to spell and define Musselman, today a familiar concentration camp term for the walking dead who had lost the will to live.5 He did not know the names of concentration camps that (p. 246) are now in the lexicon of the most inexpert student of the Holocaust. Boder was uninformed and appeared naϯve. Yet the Boder interviews, together with the conversations recorded on paper by the volunteers and employees of the Jewish committees in Europe are today acknowledged for their special value, in part because the Nuremberg Trials (1945–49), which could have taken the opportunity to document the Holocaust through survivor testimony, bringing testimony to the foreground of Holocaust history and thus empowering testimony itself, did not do so.

Those who conducted the Nuremberg Trials made a deliberate choice not to use survivor testimony because they thought it did not provide the believability or the steadfast power of other documentation. “While eyewitness and survivor testimony might offer a human dimension to the suffering caused by Nazi atrocity, such testimony … would be vulnerable to charges of hyperbole,” especially if the witnesses could be manipulated and confused by defense attorneys.6

Except for the testimony that was collected by attorneys for the persecution of war criminals in local trials, which took place throughout Germany, and for the early work of Boder and the Jewish committees, Holocaust survivors remained largely silent and marginalized during the 1950s. Societies and individuals wanted to forget the tragedies of the past and look to the future.

Renewed Interest in Survivor Narratives

Sixteen years after the end of the war, on April 11, 1961, Adolf Eichmann was put on trial in Israel. Unlike the Nuremberg tribunal, this trial was structured around eyewitness accounts. Survivor testimony brought the horrors of the Holocaust to the forefront of history and began the process of “de-marginalizing” their stories. Momentous for many reasons, the trial was particularly meaningful to advocates of personal narratives as legitimate historical and legal evidence. Ordinary people's emotional accounts of traumatic events that had taken place decades before were not dismissed as unreliable and biased in a court of law. “At the heart of this newly recognized identity as survivor was a new function, to be the bearer of history. With the Eichmann trial, the witness becomes an embodiment of memory (un homme-mémoire), attesting to the past and the continuing presence of the past.”7

In the global economic upswing that characterized the 1960s, Holocaust survivors raised their children and were working hard to improve their circumstances and advance their lives, especially those who had emigrated to North America, Israel, and Australia, as well as those in Western Europe. This focus on family, occupation, and assimilation, coupled with the social turmoil of the '60s counterculture, antiwar, civil rights, and feminist movements, swept up and deeply engaged many of the Holocaust survivors. Despite the recognition that survivor testimony gained during the Eichmann trial, public interest in survivors' experiences remained low.

(p. 247) The Diary of Anne Frank, first published in the United States in 1952, had been adapted into a motion picture in 1959 and remade again for television in 1967. Along with films like The Pawnbroker (1964), The Shop on Main Street (1965), and Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)—the latter both winners of Best Foreign Film Academy Awards—Anne Frank kept the survivor story alive. Two of the most renowned Holocaust memoirs were published in English just as the 1960s began (Night by Elie Wiesel and Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi), but they were not widely read at the time.

Interest in Holocaust survivor narrative saw its beginnings in the late 1970s. It was then that the people who eventually formed the groundbreaking Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale began conducting interviews. The television miniseries, Holocaust, broadcast in 1978 (on the heels of Roots, televised a year earlier to a spectacular response) was a huge success in both the United States and Germany. The zeitgeist of the times was such that the ideology of human rights had caught the public imagination, ethnicity was valued, and the politics of identity had arrived. “The idea has taken hold that all lives equally deserve to be told.”8

Moreover, the survivors, whose average age at the end of the war was in the mid-twenties, had now reached their mid-to-late fifties. Many of them were struggling with children who were intermarrying and losing their Jewish identity. Distressed by these trends, some Jewish leaders invoked the Holocaust itself in an attempt to stem the tide.

With a diminishing birth rate, an intermarriage rate exceeding 40 percent, Jewish illiteracy gaining ascendance daily—who says the Holocaust is over? … The monster has assumed a different and more benign form … but its evil goal remains unchanged: a Judenrein world.9

Despite loss of interest in “Jewishness,” enrollment in courses on the Holocaust by Jewish students was growing. By 1978 courses were offered at more than seven hundred colleges.10 The historian Peter Novick contended that in the age of identity politics, Jewish identity in America shifted from religious practice, identification with Israel, or even a sense of ethnic pride, to the Holocaust: “The Holocaust, as virtually the only common denominator of American Jewish identity in the late twentieth century, has filled a need for a consensual symbol.”11

All of these cultural, political, and demographic forces continued to intensify in the 1980s. William Styron's highly acclaimed and best-selling novel Sophie's Choice was published in 1979 and adapted to film in 1982, starring Meryl Streep. In 1985 Shoah, the nine-hour documentary made exclusively from first-person testimony by Claude Lanzmann, was broadcast on American public television. It introduced a large portion of the American public to both the Holocaust and survivor testimony, and brought to the fore the issue of Holocaust representationality.12 In 1986 Elie Wiesel, by now a Nobel laureate, would say in an interview for the new journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies that “any survivor has more to say than all historians combined about what happened.”13

Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

(p. 248) The 1990s saw a worldwide proliferation of Holocaust centers and institutes for remembrance and research. Many of these institutions began collecting testimony from survivors living in their regions and used the testimonies for their educational and commemorative activities. By 1998, when the Swedish government initiated the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Commemoration, and Research, and created an international directory, it listed more than one thousand such institutions. On this list of governmental and nongovernmental institutions was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., which opened its doors to much acclaim and public exposure in 1994.

One year earlier, Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List, had been a spectacular international box office success, and the recipient of seven Academy Awards.14 This film, along with the events and developments of the previous three decades, set the stage for an organization that would initiate an oral history project of enormously ambitious proportions. Schindler's List would inspire Spielberg into embarking on a project of such consequence and provide him with the credential for acceptance into the international community of Holocaust survivors. The film was credible to those who had lived through the atrocities depicted, and it let loose an avalanche of survivors who wanted to tell their stories.

Spielberg founded Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in Los Angeles in 1994. Tens of thousands of survivors worldwide would be given the chance to testify to their experiences, each story would be preserved on broadcast quality videotape, and a digitized archive of testimonies would be cataloged and made accessible for serious inquiry.15 Although the response from both the survivor population and the general public was enthusiastic, it was not universally shared by the academic community. For many scholars, the size of the project alone made it suspect; and the speed with which it was launched made it dubious. They considered Spielberg's intent commendable but regarded the complexity of the subject to be beyond the capacity of an institution conceived by a Hollywood director. Geoffrey Hartman, project director of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale, which at the time housed the largest collection of videotaped interviews (then about 3,000 interviews; now 4,300), said: “We are with a great university that has education and research value. … Until they demonstrate that they have those same values, it would be disastrous if we simply said, ‘Let them do it.’ ”16

Nevertheless, the Shoah Foundation succeeded. With the guidance of Holocaust historians, psychologists, and oral historians experienced in interviewing survivors, it launched an outreach program and developed an infrastructure on an international scale. From the beginning, the goal of interviewing Holocaust survivors worldwide in massive numbers was a race against time. The survivor population was aging, and many had died or were deteriorating. A large workforce of interviewers (p. 249) was needed. Interviewer training sessions, three-to-four days in length, were held in twenty-four countries. Interviewers came from a wide range of backgrounds—most commonly educators, psychologists, journalists, graduate students, and historians. Many were children of survivors. I attended a training in Los Angeles in 1995 and worked on the staff until 2001. During the four years of the interviewing phase, this army of more than 2,300 trained interviewers conducted interviews in thirty-two languages, with interviewees in fifty-six different countries.

Perhaps most impressively, the Shoah Foundation did thousands of interviews in the former Soviet Union, where the fall of the Iron Curtain had made outreach to survivors possible for the first time since the war. Many of these survivors still lived in the towns where they had experienced the Holocaust, sometimes in close proximity to those who had been their persecutors. The Foundation worked with local Jewish and survivor groups wherever interviews were conducted, adjusting outreach procedures and interviewing methodology to respond to the cultural needs of specific populations. Since many Eastern European survivors had hidden their Jewish identity after the war, for instance, standard reflective questions about what it means to be Jewish today were omitted from those interviews.

The Shoah Foundation eventually won its struggle for legitimacy in the academy. Its collection of nearly 52,000 testimonies is housed at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and is part of an interdisciplinary center, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. The collection is distributed to university libraries and museums around the world, including the Fortunoff Video Archive at Yale. As part of Spielberg's original vision, the interviews were not transcribed, compelling researchers to go directly to the digitized video interviews themselves. Distinguished by sophisticated technology in every aspect of the undertaking, the Shoah Foundation's patented system for cataloging and indexing its 100,000 hours-plus of testimony is a twenty-first-century model research tool. Using a thesaurus of more than 50,000 keywords, indexers divided each testimony into segments, and assigned keywords to each segment.17 This process of “bookmarking” important events and ideas enables scholars to more easily find specific information in the vast archive.

The Shoah Foundation's struggle for legitimacy, for a sense of identity as an institution, for acceptance of the historic worth of its collection of interviews, and even for its academic dignity, has not been uncommon in the field of oral history and can be seen as reflective of the very history of the field itself. The need and desire to rush to document the experiences of “those who were there” before it's too late is how many oral history projects begin. Their architects only stumble upon the theoretical issues inherent in the endeavor later, when those issues cannot be avoided and after it has become apparent that there is little that is self-evident, direct, or unmediated in the process of producing oral histories of “eyewitness” accounts. In her book The Era of the Witness, Annette Wieviorka wrote:

In principle, testimonies demonstrate that every individual, every life, every experience of the Holocaust is irreducibly unique. But they demonstrate this (p. 250) uniqueness using the language of the time in which they are delivered and in response to questions and expectations motivated by political and ideological concerns.18

Personal, subjective memories—decades old and trauma-infused—are now finding legitimacy and acceptance even by the most objectively inclined historian. Inaccuracies and distortion of “fact” no longer invalidate survivors' accounts of Holocaust events. History and memory “are no longer considered rivals,” Aleida Assmann has written.19 “With the acknowledgment of personal voices and their inclusion in historiography, as, for instance, exemplified by the Holocaust survivor and historian Saul Friedländer in his book on Jews in Nazi Germany (1997), the clear-cut borderlines between ‘factual history’ and ‘remembered past’ becomes to some extent permeable.”20

More than six decades have passed since the first survivors of the Holocaust told their stories. The Shoah Foundation's interviews with people reaching the end of their lives, for the most part in their seventies and eighties, constitute the great bulk of the last interviews with survivors of the Holocaust. These videotaped interviews, together with the oral and written testimony collected throughout the world since 1945, comprise the “largest collection of testimony ever gathered about one specific event in history.”21 In addition to the more than 100,000 testimonies collected by large projects, smaller local projects at historical societies, temples, and other community organizations have interviewed thousands more.22

This huge number of Holocaust survivor testimonies offers unique opportunities for understanding the many facets of the oral history enterprise. It is the largest collection of oral histories on a single subject, and because these interviews have been conducted over the course of six decades throughout changing times and over great distances, there is much we can learn. We can compare testimonies taken at different points in time, in different cultures, in different languages, and at different phases in the life cycle. Some survivors were interviewed more than once for different projects, enabling us to compare one individual's testimony given to different interviewers, sometimes separated by decades. In its early days, the Shoah Foundation was criticized for “redoing” what others had already done by interviewing survivors who wanted to be part of “Spielberg's Project.” Now we can appreciate the extraordinary value of these “repeat performances.” Rita Horváth, a Research Fellow at Yad Vashem in 2005–6, wrote:

By comparing the guidelines and actual testimonies it is possible to analyze the different underlying historiographic assumptions, research methods and aims that govern the collection of testimonies. The novelty of this approach lies in the attempt to assess the dynamic interrelationship of the changes in the conception of history on the one hand, and the changes in the notions of witnessing on the other–all of which occurred as a consequence of the Holocaust.23

Researchers who study trauma and memory are finding a wealth of material in these interviews, which demonstrate how enduring trauma can be, and how (p. 251) it can be triggered by the commonplace, like an association with a smell, as well as singular and frightening events, like those of 9/11. The “most pervasive finding about memory for atrocity is its extraordinary persistence.”24 Scholars who study narrative structures can find patterns of narrative that illustrate the power of storytelling genres. Even in the telling of the Holocaust experience, “the interviews often strive to fit into the genre expected of them.”25 We can contrast Eastern European testimonies to American testimonies, which tend to follow the cultural standard of a happy ending: narratives that adhere “to a formula that begins in trauma, atrocity, and loss and that ends in healing, hope, and redemption.”26 Those studying issues related to witnessing can study all facets of the subject, from the victim as witness to the interviewer as witness.27

Documentation, Commemoration, and Pedagogy

Oral historians interested in the interaction between interviewer and interviewee will find tensions between documentation and commemoration from the earliest interviews to the most recent. While interviewers strive for precision, thoroughness, and historical relevance, survivors may value the interview as a memorial to family and friends. In fact, they may need not to remember certain experiences. What can the interviewer pursue and how can one know when to draw back?

But can the historian, when face to face with a living person, act morally as a “memory critic”? The suffering conveyed by the story of a survivor–by one who may be the last repository of an entire procession of the dead whose memory he or she carries with him or her—paralyzes the historian. The historian knows that all life stories are constructions but also that these (re)constructions are the very armature, the vertebral column, of life in the present.28

Many of these interviewing issues are universal to the practice of oral history.  All living primary sources require a sensitivity not needed for other modes of research. But testimony in all its forms has played a central and transformative role in the historiography of the Holocaust, and survivor testimonies have become a model for conducting the oral history of atrocity. Today, the Shoah Foundation is one of numerous Holocaust institutions involved in documenting genocide in Rwanda and Darfur through oral history.

Holocaust oral history continues to break new pedagogical ground. The teaching of Holocaust history has been infused with the oral histories of survivors and other witnesses, bringing deeper awareness and understanding to students worldwide through their contact with individual voices—and faces. Teachers and students have found that one way to understand immense events usually deemed “incomprehensible” is to study them through individual stories of loss and survival. These (p. 252) stories can be riveting and unforgettable and—in alliance with more traditional documentation—incomparable educational tools.

The borders of scholarship continue to broaden. Academia is learning to value emotional truth and to acknowledge the implicit subjectivity of “pure fact.” The choice to videotape interviews with survivors of the Holocaust, along with the indexing technology developed by the Shoah Foundation for researching the videotaped interviews—not the transcripts—assures that a direct human encounter will be had by researchers. The more accustomed scholars and students grow to such encounters, the more the practice of oral history becomes an essential, expected component of learning, not just about the Holocaust but about a wide range of subjects, enriching historical scholarship and narrative with new depth and complexity.


Douglas, Lawrence. The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2005.Find this resource:

    Hartmann, Geoffrey, ed. Holocaust Remembrance: The Shapes of the Past. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.Find this resource:

      LaCapra, Dominick. History and Memory after Auschwitz. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998.Find this resource:

        Langer, Lawrence L. Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

          Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999.Find this resource:

            Wieviorka, Annette. The Era of the Witness. Translated by Jared Stark. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006.Find this resource:


              Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002), 23.

              Title quotation:

              (1.) Some of these organizations include the Weiner Library in London, the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, established in Grenoble in 1943; the volunteer-run Jewish Historical Commission founded in Lublin in 1944 (to become the Zydowski Instytut Historyczyny (ZIH) in 1947); the National Relief Committee for Deportees in Hungary (DEGOB), established in Budapest in 1945; and the Committee of Liberated Jews (CHC) founded in the American Occupation Zone in Munich of 1945. In Palestine, Vaad Hatzala and the Jewish Congress collected testimonies, as did the World Jewish Congress and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York.

              (2.) Seventy of Boder's 109 interviews are translated and transcribed, and available to read online at:

              (3.) Alexander Gertner, interviewed by David Boder, Aug. 26, 1946, Geneva, Switzerland. Transcript of Spools 77, 78, and 79,

              (4.) Lawrence L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993), 16.

              (5.) Adam Krakowski, interviewed by David Boder, July 30, 1946, Paris, France. Transcript of Spool 5A,

              (6.) Lawrence Douglas, The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2005), 18.

              (7.) Annette Wieviorka, “The Witness in History,” Poetics Today 27, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 391.

              (8.) Frédéric Gaussen, “Le goût pour les récits de vie,” Le Monde, Feb. 14, 1982 (as quoted by Wieviorka in “Witness in History,” 391).

              (9.) Norman Lamm, president of Yeshiva University, quoted by Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (New York: HoughtonMifflin Harcourt, 1999), 185.

              (10.) Ibid., 188.

              (11.) Ibid., 7.

              (12.) See Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, MD, Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History (New York: Routledge, 1992); Saul Friedländer, ed., Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the “Final Solution” (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992); Geoffrey Hartman, ed., Holocaust Remembrance: The Shapes of the Past (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994); Geoffrey Hartman, Scars of the Spirit: The Struggle Against Inauthenticity. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); Marianne Hirsch and Irene Kacandes, eds., Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2004); and Dominick LaCapra, History and Memory After Auschwitz (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998).

              (13.) Harry J. Cargas, “An Interview with Elie Wiesel,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 1 (1986):5.

              (14.) The film's television premiere was seen in 65 million homes in 1997, one of the largest audiences in the history of American television.

              (15.) Although the vast majority (about 90 percent) of the Shoah Foundation's interviews are with Jewish survivors, the Foundation also interviewed homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Sinti and Roma (Gypsy) survivors, survivors of eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants.

              (16.) Laura Shapiro, “Race Against Time: Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Own Stories,” Newsweek, Nov. 21, 1994, 98.

              (17.) “Indexing is the process of watching each testimony and digitally attaching keywords (people, places, events, ideas) to moments in the testimony. For example, when a survivor shares the story of a Passover celebration in Krakow in 1932, the keywords ‘Passover,’ ‘Customs and Observances, Jewish,’ ‘Krakow (Poland),’ ‘Poland [1926–1935]’ are all attached to the video's timecode for that story.” Shoah Foundation Newsletter, PastForward (Summer 2003), 12.

              (18.) Annette Wieviorka, The Era of the Witness, trans. Jared Stark (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press 2006), xii.

              (19.) Aleida Assmann, “History, Memory and the Genre of Testimony,” Poetics Today 27, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 263.

              (20.) Ibid., 263.

              (21.) Tony Kushner, “Holocaust Testimony, Ethics, and the Problem of Representation,” Poetics Today 27, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 275.

              (22.) The USHMM collections contain more than 9,000 audio and video interviews; Yad Vashem's archive houses 44,000 audio, video, and written testimonies; the Shoah Foundation has 52,000; and Fortunoff has completed 4,300 interviews. The USHMM lists 139 local projects that have contributed testimonies to its archive.

              (23.) Rita Horváth, “‘On Comparing Jewish Survivors’ Testimonies taken by the National Relief Committee for Deportees in Hungary and Other Large-Scale Historical-Memorial Projects of She'erit Hapletah in the Immediate Aftermath of the Holocaust (1945–1948),” Institute News (Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research) 8, no. 2

              (24.) Robert N. Kraft, “Archival Memory: Representations of the Holocaust in Oral Testimony,” Poetics Today 27, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 315. I gratefully acknowledge the valuable resource of this special issue of Poetics Today focused on Holocaust oral history.

              (25.) Kushner, “Holocaust Testimony,” 285.

              (26.) Walter Reich, “Unwelcome Narratives: Listening to Suppressed Themes in American Holocaust Testimonies,” Poetics Today 27, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 466.

              (27.) See Assmann, “History, Memory, and the Genre of Testimony”: “Victim and witness are no longer separated but, rather, two aspects of the same person in the case of the Holocaust survivor” (267). Avishai Margalit, in The Ethics of Memory (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), “introduced the term ‘moral witness’ to distinguish the witness who actually suffered persecution from other witnesses who are bystanders or professional reporters. Suffering and secondary witnessing, so categorically divided in the case of the religious and secular witness, merge in the Holocaust witness” (Assmann, 269).

              (28.) Wieviorka, Era of the Witness, 395.