Studies of interviewing suggest that there is a wide gulf between interviewing theory and actual practice. Regarding interviews with Holocaust survivors specifically, there have been no systematic studies of the relationships between theory and practice, nor has there been systematic assessment by other criteria of the increasingly vast archives of survivor interviews. In the absence of such studies, the authors have pursued another approach to thinking about what made for better and worse interviews with survivors. During the summer of 1998, they spoke with two groups of survivors who had been interviewed many times, for many different projects, and asked the survivors to evaluate their various interview experiences. As judged by the survivors, certain criteria did, indeed, consistently characterize the best as against the worst interviews. The authors argue that these same criteria shed light on an even more fundamental question: what makes an interview an interview at all?

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