Approaching an Auschwitz Survivor: Holocaust Testimony and its Transformations [NOOK Book]

Overview

Among sources on the Holocaust, survivor testimonies are the least replaceable and most complex, reflecting both the personality of the narrator and the conditions and perceptions prevailing at the time of narration. Scholars, despite their aim to challenge memory and fill its gaps, often use testimonies uncritically or selectively-mining them to support generalizations. This book represents a departure, bringing Holocaust experts Atina Grossmann, Konrad Kwiet, Wendy Lower, Jurgen Matthaus, and Nechama Tec ...
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Approaching an Auschwitz Survivor: Holocaust Testimony and its Transformations

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Overview

Among sources on the Holocaust, survivor testimonies are the least replaceable and most complex, reflecting both the personality of the narrator and the conditions and perceptions prevailing at the time of narration. Scholars, despite their aim to challenge memory and fill its gaps, often use testimonies uncritically or selectively-mining them to support generalizations. This book represents a departure, bringing Holocaust experts Atina Grossmann, Konrad Kwiet, Wendy Lower, Jurgen Matthaus, and Nechama Tec together to analyze the testimony of one Holocaust survivor. Born in Bratislava at the end of World War I, Helen "Zippi" Spitzer Tichauer was sent to Auschwitz in 1942. One of the few early arrivals to survive the camp and the death marches, she met her future husband in a DP camp, and they moved to New York in the 1960s. Beginning in 1946, Zippi devoted many hours to talking with a small group of scholars about her life. Her wide-ranging interviews are uniquely suited to raise questions on the meaning and use of survivor testimony. What do we know today about the workings of a death camp? How willing are we to learn from the experiences of a survivor, and how much is our perception preconditioned by standardized images? What are the mechanisms, aims, and pitfalls of storytelling? Can survivor testimonies be understood properly without guidance from those who experienced the events? This book's new, multifaceted approach toward Zippi's unique story combined with the authors' analysis of key aspects of Holocaust memory, its forms and its functions, makes it a rewarding and fascinating read.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Should be read by all who produce and consume writings and arts about the Holocaust." — CHOICE

"One of a handful of books that takes seriously the complexity and contingency of Holocaust survivors' recounting. A must read for anyone concerned with survivor testimony, past and future."—American Historical Review

"Takes a unique approach to understanding the Holocaust. These scholars have put together a fascinating read about how survivor testimony helps in understanding the Holocaust itself, and they delve into the deeper meaning of collecting testimonies and their value in history. Highly recommended for all types of libraries." — Association of Jewish Libraries

"Represents a transformation in how historians are lately thinking about survivor testimony...at its most profound moments, [it] wrestles with the question of who has authority to claim to speak the truth with respect to this history. It challenges the presumption that historians or survivors could be, independent of one another, the arbiters of truth. It suggests, rather, that historical truth can only emerge out of a complex dialogue between them." — Central European History

"This book is one of only a handful that take seriously the complexity and contingency of survivors' recounting, and it does so with a rigor that is virtually unmatched."—American Historical Review

"A unique contribution to the growing literature on Holocaust testimonies." —Biography

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199799015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Series: Oxford Oral History Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 18 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Director, Applied Research, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Mark Roseman

Introduction: What Does it Mean? Holocaust Testimony and the Story of Helen "Zippi" Tichauer

Chapter 1: Designing Survival: A Graphic Artist in Birkenau
Konrad Kwiet

Chapter 2: Recapturing the Past: Individuality and Cooperation in Auschwitz
Nechama Tec

Chapter 3: Displacing Memory: The Transformations of an Early Interview
Jürgen Matthäus

Chapter 4: Living On: Remembering Feldafing
Atina Grossmann

Chapter 5: Distant Encounter: An Auschwitz Survivor in the College Classroom
Wendy Lower

Conclusion: What Have We Learned?

Appendix: English Translation of an Interview
Conducted by David Boder with Helen Tichauer

Notes

Bibliography

About the Contributors

Index
List of illustrations and maps
Forword, Mark Roseman
Introduction: What Does it Mean? Holocaust Testimony and the Story of Helen "Zippi" Tichauer
Designing Survival: A Graphic Artist in Birkenau, Konrad Kwiet
Recapturing the Past: Individuality and Cooperation in Auschwitz, Nechama Tec
Displacing Memory: The Transformations of an Early Interview, Jürgen Matthäus
Living On: Remembering Feldafing, Atina Grossmann
Distant Encounter: An Auschwitz Survivor in the College Classroom, Wendy Lower
Conclusion: What Have We Learned?
Appendix: English translation of Helen Tichauer's interview with David Boder in the DP-Camp Feldafing, September 23, 1946
Bibliography
Notes on Contributors
Index

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