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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Diary and memoir writing by Jews was the most significant and typical literary phenomenon of the Holocaust period. This article shows that Jews from almost all ages and cultural backgrounds wrote such documents in nearly all locations of persecution, including Auschwitz. Treating the ‘Holocaust diary’ as a linguistic-cultural phenomenon, it offers a typology: the ‘documentary diary’ focuses on recording events and raises the question of cultural continuity; the ‘synecdochical diary’ concentrates on the writer's individual experience and its relation to history; the ‘reflective diary’ explores existential and semi-philosophical issues. The article concludes by examining the reception of diaries and commenting on whether these texts bear witness to the persistence of the human spirit or precisely the opposite.

Keywords: Holocaust diary, Jewish memoirs, documentary diary, synecdochical diary, reflective diary, Auschwitz

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