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Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  60 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
This important an original book is the first sustained analysis of the unique ways in which oral testimony of survivors contributes to our understanding of the Holocaust. It also sheds light on the forms and functions of memory as victims relive devastating experiences of pain, humiliation, and loss.


Drawing on the Fortunoff Video Archives for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale
Paperback, 235 pages
Published January 27th 1993 by Yale University Press (first published 1991)
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Zachary R
Nov 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
The Holocaust Testimonies was a interesting book but not for the ones who like a more intense book rather than a calm and sort of frightening book upon the Holocaust. This Book is about the past experiences of the people who were sent to the special camps. Their was many main people who played their part in the book, with that being said their was truly no main character besides the Nazi's and how cruel they were to others and the actions that they posed. The plot started out as a place in whic ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Memory of trauma rips the bearer to their core, causing rifts and crags to appear in their lives. For Holocaust survivors, this is a microscopic statement. Lawrence Langer’s book plunges the reader into the tumultuous mind of survivor memory, describing as best he can the absolute decimation of the self among the “ruins of memory”. In his countless observations of oral testimonies, Langer found different modes of memory being used by the witnesses, modes which intersect and connect. These modes ...more
Feb 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historians, anyone interested in the Holocaust
Shelves: history-memory
Langer, who has observed over 300 hours of Holocaust testimony (I can't even begin to imagine), examines the memories of Holocaust survivors with five specific categories. Although he provides more than enough actual testimony his purpose is in trying to explain how that particular trauma has affected memory. So, this isn't really a history book, but it's not a psychological exploration either. Langer, an English professor, uses literary analysis and philosophical exploration to examine the memo ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: dissertation
Langer's cataloging and analysis of the testimonies he witnessed are mostly useful and insightful, particularly when he establishes how the Holocaust experience challenges our ideas of heroism, logic, history, etc. However, he seems to privilege oral testimonies over written ones in a way that is a bit simplistic. While he is correct to point out the differences between the spoken and the written, he fails to recognize the tropes inherent in oral testimony that make the appearance of immediacy i ...more
Sep 20, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: for-me
recommended by Professor Amy Simon in my Literature of the Holocaust course
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