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Other titles in the Oxford Oral History series:
The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder (Oxford Oral History)by Alan Rosen
Synopses & Reviews
Over the last several decades, video testimony with aging Holocaust survivors has brought these witnesses into the limelight. Yet the success of these projects has made it seem that little survivor testimony took place in earlier years. In truth, thousands of survivors began to recount their experience at the earliest opportunity. This book provides the first full-length case study of early postwar Holocaust testimony, focusing on David Boder's 1946 displaced persons interview project. In July 1946, Boder, a psychologist, traveled to Europe to interview victims of the Holocaust who were in the Displaced Persons (DP) camps and what he called "shelter houses." During his nine weeks in Europe, Boder carried out approximately 130 interviews in nine languages and recorded them on a wire recorder.
Likely the earliest audio recorded testimony of Holocaust survivors, the interviews are valuable today for the spoken word (that of the DP narrators and of Boder himself) and also for the song sessions and religious services that Boder recorded. Eighty sessions were eventually transcribed into English, most of which were included in a self-published manuscript. Alan Rosen sets Boder's project in the context of the postwar response to displaced persons, sketches the dramatic background of his previous life and work, chronicles in detail the evolving process of interviewing both Jewish and non-Jewish DPs, and examines from several angles the implications for the history of Holocaust testimony.
Such early postwar testimony, Rosen avers, deserves to be taken on its own terms rather than to be enfolded into earlier or later schemas of testimony. Moreover, Boder's efforts and the support he was given for them demonstrate that American postwar response to the Holocaust was not universally indifferent but rather often engaged, concerned, and resourceful.
About the Author
Alan Rosen teaches Holocaust literature at the International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem, Israel. His previous books include Sounds of Defiance: The Holocaust, Multilingualism, and the Problem of English and Dislocating the End: Climax, Closure and the Invention of Genre.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Boder's Happy Idea
Chapter 1: I Could Not Help But Wonder: On Boder's Biography and the Idea of Testimony
Chapter 2: Summer, 1946: The European Expedition and the Ethnography of Testimony
Chapter 3: Summer, 1946 Part II: The Expansion of Testimony
Chapter 4: From Listening to Reading: Publishing the Interviews
Chapter 5: The Wonder of Their Voices: Testimony, Technology and Wire Recorded Narratives
Chapter 6: Making a Study of These Things: Boder's Interviews in the Context of Psychology
Chapter 7: In Divergent Tongues and Dialects: Multilingual Interviews and Literary Experiments
Epilogue: Rewriting the History of Holocaust Testimony
Appendix I Lists of Interviews
Appendix II The Disputed Number of Interviews
Appendix III Topical Autobiographies Table of Contents
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