Topics: Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Holocaust, Holocaust Commemoration, Memory, Memorial, Ethnography, Oral History and Biography
Abstract: This study of the Pechora camp, in Transnistria, examines the contributions of contemporary testimonies to our understanding of the Holocaust experience and the ways survivors and witnesses perceive and recount that experience over time. In the case of Transnistria, the testimonies of living witnesses may at times provide the only significant historical and social record of the ghetto and camp experience. While existing scholarship on the Holocaust in Romania and Transnistria has emerged primarily out of the Romanian Jewish experience of the war, this article highlights the wartime experiences and postwar memories of Ukrainian Jewish survivors, whose perspectives on Transnistria have until recently been overlooked. The author also offers a distinctly ethnographic dimension to the study of the Holocaust by examining memory and identity processes and by revealing substantial fissures in the way the Holocaust is remembered and memorialized.
Topics: Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Holocaust, Holocaust Survivors, Memory, Oral History and Biography, Interviews
Abstract: This article examines testimonies of Jasenovac survivors recorded in Serbia between 1989 and 1997 for the oral history collections of the Fortunoff Archive and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The author highlights the differences between the assumptions about survivors and testimony underpinning the US-based interview projects, on the one hand, and the understanding of bearing witness that is apparent in testimonies recorded for projects in Serbia on the other. Contrasting the emotion-centered American approach to survivor testimony with the atrocity-centered Serbian approach, the author argues for a more explicit acknowledgment among scholars, as well as among those involved in recording testimonies, of witnessing as a socially, historically, and institutionally embedded practice.
Topics: Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Memory, Oral History and Biography, Yiddish, Holocaust Survivors, Holocaust, Interviews
Abstract: Psychoanalyst Dori Laub asserts that for camp inmates the Holocaust extinguished the possibility of “I-thou” interaction. Address and response, the basis of human subjectivity, became impossible for the prisoner to imagine. The author of this article uses victims’ descriptions of perpetrators to investigate this assertion. Do survivors at times conceive of a wartime assailant as “you”—as an addressable human agent? Comparing two clusters of testimony by Lithuanian Jews, the author finds that contemporary language and social context shape the victims’ stance toward Holocaust perpetration—that is, how they weigh human versus structural wrong. She also points out various ethical traps inherent in each of the two methods of remembering wartime aggressor