This essay traces transformations in the figure of the witness from the period of the ghettos to the present, focusing on the meaning and contexts of the predominant forms of testimony during the Holocaust and since. Efforts to bear witness in diaries, chronicles, and unpublished manuscripts began in the earliest stages of the genocide. In the postwar period, the meaning of testimony remained largely personal. The Eichmann trial conferred on the witnesses the social identity of survivor and transformed them into bearers of history. This image of the survivor continues in audiovisual testimony projects such as the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, projects that pose new challenges to historians of the genocide.
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Annette Wieviorka; The Witness in History. Poetics Today 1 June 2006; 27 (2): 385–397. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2005-009
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