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The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder (Oxford Oral History)


The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder (Oxford Oral History) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Yad Vashem, Israel and other Holocaust study centers. His previous books include Sounds of Defiance: The Holocaust, Multilingualism, and the Problem of English and and Approaches to Teaching Wiesel's Night.

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, Part I: 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: Chronology of Interviews: July 29-October 4, 1946

Appendix II: The Disputed Number of Boder Interviews

Appendix III: Topical Autobiographies of Displaced People: Volumes I through XVI


Bibliographic Note


Product Details

Rosen, Alan
Oxford University Press, USA
Europe - General
History, World | European
World History-European History General
Publication Date:
9 illus.
6.1 x 9.1 x 0.8 in 1.075 lb

Related Subjects

» Biography » General
» History and Social Science » Law » General
» History and Social Science » World History » European History General
» History and Social Science » World History » Holocaust

The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder (Oxford Oral History) New Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199945078 Reviews:
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