It has taken many decades after 1945 for the testimony of Holocaust victims to be taken seriously. This article charts the shift from the marginalization of survivors and the lack of interest in their accounts immediately after the war to more recent developments, whereby they have gained belated recognition and huge efforts have been made to record their experiences. Faced now with the largest collection of testimony ever gathered about one specific event in history, historians and others representing the past are faced with the dilemma of what to do with this remarkable archive of material. It is suggested that only by understanding the nature of ordinary people's constructions of their life histories, with their internal silences and mythologies, will scholars do full justice to the complexity and richness of Holocaust testimony.

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