Between Witness and Testimony: The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation
The Holocaust presents an immense challenge to those who would represent it or teach it through fiction, film, or historical accounts. Even the testimonies of those who were there provide only a glimpse of the disaster to those who were not. Between Witness and Testimony investigates the difficulties inherent in the obligation to bear witness to events that seem not just unspeakable but also unthinkable. The authors examine films, fictional narratives, survivor testimonies, and the museums at Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in order to establish an ethics of Holocaust representation. Traversing the disciplines of history, philosophy, religious studies, and literary and cultural theory, the authors suggest that while no account adequately provides access to what Adorno called “the extremity that eludes the concept,” we are still obliged to testify, to put into language what history cannot contain.
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absence abyss act of witnessing Adorno aesthetic Appelfeld attempt Auschwitz Badenheim 1939 Benjamin Binjamin Wilkomirski Blanchot Borowski called camps caust Chelmno confront connection context Daniel Ganzfried disaster discourse divine Doesseker effect Elena Lappin epistemology ethics evidence experience face fiction film Final Solution forgetfulness Fortunoff ghetto glimpse guage historian Historical Museum historical narrative Holo Holocaust horror human imagine imperative impossible individual Isaac Luria Jewish Jews kernel knowledge Langer language Lanzmann Levi's Lewin limit lives Magda mark Maus means metaphor metonymic narrator Nazi Night and Fog nonetheless occurrence Ozick past position present Primo Levi reader recognize redemption relation remember representation Resnais Rosa Schindler's List sense Shoah shtetl silence speak Spiegelman's Spielberg's story sublime suggest survivors tell thing tion trace trauma Treblinka understand USHMM utterance victim viewer visitors Vladek's Warsaw Wilkomirski witness and testimony words writing written Yad Vashem