Laura Jockusch : “Collect and Record! Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe”

E9780199764556_140n 2012, le livre de Laura Jockusch : Collect and Record! Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe a été publié aux éditions Oxford University Press.

Un nouveau compte-rendu (en allemand), par Stephan Stach (Institut für Slavistik, Universität Leipzig) vient d’être publié sur : hsozkult.

Pour en savoir plus sur ce livre, vous pouvez également consulter un ancien compte-rendu de lecture publié sur H Net, en anglais, par Anna Motyczka (Leo Baeck Institute London).


Présentation par l’éditeur (pour avoir accès à la table des matières du livre, cliquez sur ce précédent lien) :

– Based on hitherto unused archival documents in Yiddish, Hebrew, French, German, Polish and English, from archives in Europe, the United States and Israel

– Challenges the previously held conception that Holocaust research had begun only in the 1960s and that Holocaust survivors had been silent about their pasts until the 1980s

This volume tells the largely unknown story of Holocaust survivors who founded Jewish historical commissions and documentation centers in Europe immediately after World War II. Amidst political turmoil and extreme privation, physically exhausted and traumatized women and men who had survived ghettos, camps, hiding, or life under false identities sought to chronicle the catastrophe. They collected thousands of Nazi documents along with more than 18,000 testimonies, some 8,000 questionnaires, and large numbers of memoirs, diaries, songs, poems, and artifacts of Jewish victims.

The activists found documenting the Holocaust to be a moral imperative after the war, the obligation of the dead to the living, and a means to understand and process their recent trauma and loss. They deemed historical documentation vital in the pursuit of postwar justice and essential in counteracting the Nazis’ wartime efforts to erase the evidence of their crimes. These Jewish documentation initiatives pioneered the development of a Holocaust historiography that used both victim and perpetrator sources to describe the social, economic, and cultural aspects of the everyday life and death of European Jews under the Nazi regime, while placing the experiences of Jews at the center of the story. These groundbreaking efforts of survivors to study the Nazi regime’s genocide of European Jews was ignored by subsequent generations of Holocaust scholars.

With a comparative analysis, Jockusch focuses on France, Poland, Germany, Austria, and Italy to illuminate the transnational nature of Jewish efforts to write the history of the Holocaust in its immediate aftermath. The book explores the motivations and rationales that guided survivors in chronicling the destruction they had witnessed, their research techniques, archival collections, and historical publications. As the first comprehensive study on the subject, this book serves as an important complement to the literature on survivor testimony, Holocaust memory, and the rebuilding of Jewish life in postwar Europe.

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