From Victim to Survivor

The Emergence and Development of the Holocaust Witness, 1941-1949

Taft, Margaret

This original study into the development of the Holocaust witness is a groundbreaking contribution to the scholarship of early Holocaust testimony. From Victim to Survivor challenges the prevailing view that the Eichmann trial in 1961 was the impetus for the public emergence of the Holocaust witness. Through a close reading of diaries, memoirs, reports and chronicles, this book proves that the Holocaust witness emerged long before Eichmann was captured and before the world was ready to acknowledge their role and status. The book argues that witnesses to the Holocaust first strove to give meaning to the events that threatened their existence over a critical eight year period from 1941 until 1949, contributing to a shared understanding of what it meant to be a victim during the onslaught of the Final Solution and what it meant to be a survivor in the immediate post-war period. They confronted an unprecedented threat to their existence that they struggled to comprehend, along with the deliberate attempt by the Nazis to conceal it. After liberation, they encountered a climate of continued anti-Semitism, hostility, and indifference, both from the Allies and the world. By refusing to remain silent, victims and survivors made a meaningful and enduring contribution to their own communities at a time when few others showed an interest in or had an understanding of the Jewish experience of the Holocaust. [Subject: History, Holocaust Studies, Jewish Studies, Memoir]

234 pages

Copyright: 5/6/2013