The Wonder of Their Voices

Alan Rosen

in The Wonder of Their Voices

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395129
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866588 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oral History Series

The Wonder of Their Voices

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter reviews the intricate history of Boder's wire recordings—a history the basic facts of which are still being pieced together. The significance of the recordings is great in its own right—Boder's are the earliest audio recordings of Holocaust survivor testimony. The chapter details the history of recording in the social sciences as a way to appreciate Boder's coming to his idea. Yet the afterlife of the recordings, especially their eventual deposit at the Library of Congress and the obscurity surrounding them, tells a story of compartmentalization and confusion. Boder's aural recordings also invite a consideration of the larger context of Holocaust testimony and the manner in which, with the onset of video, audio recording of testimony has been all but phased out. This phasing out has had its effects, moreover, on the use of audio testimony archives. Even the critical terms used to discuss Holocaust testimony celebrate video at the expense of audio. These trends in responding to Holocaust testimony dovetail with the undervalued place of what has come to be called “sound culture”.

Keywords: audio recorded testimony; video testimony; wire recorder; sound culture; Library of Congress; technology

Chapter.  12215 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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