Epilogue: Rewriting the History of Holocaust Testimony

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

Epilogue: Rewriting the History of Holocaust Testimony

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Boder's project compels to revise our view of the history of Holocaust testimony. Early postwar testimony deserves to be viewed on its own terms, as unbelated testimony. The special distinction of Boder's interviews is their aural dimension, dramatizing the narrators' youth, driving home the raw quality of their witness, and preserving objectively the words and language of interviewer and interviewee. Boder's manner of concluding his transcriptions is unconventional in several respects, associating his collection of testimony with the sacredness of Torah, and conveying a resolute idea of closure. This holds true for his 1949 book as it does for his 1957 self-published transcriptions. Finally, an uncompleted project of his own casts light on three facets of the interviews: first, the professional stance of the interviewer enables narrators to tell what is difficult; second, symmetry reflects the importance of both interviewer and interviewee; and third, youth can often disclose more and challenge more, something one sees as crucial to the Boder project interviews.

Keywords: Holocaust testimony; interviews; closure; youth

Chapter.  2075 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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