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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Jews who fled or hid from the Nazis, endured the ghettos and camps, and survived shooting squadrons have provided eyewitness testimony that is invaluable for glimpsing what the Holocaust was and how it happened. This article argues that hearing or reading survivor testimony — really hearing or reading it — requires careful attention to detail, nuance, and even silence. It traces the history of survivors' recounting, from the testimony-gathering projects immediately after liberation to the emergence of survivors in the public role of ‘witness’ in recent decades. It reviews the use of survivors' narratives in historiography but rejects the proposition that recounting is simply ‘oral history’. Containing a wide range of personal responses to the destruction, survivor accounts equally include informative reflection on the processes of remembering and retelling.

Keywords: Holocaust survivors, survivor accounts, eyewitness testimony, oral history

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