Holocaust Testimonies

Published: 2021-09-12 13:25:11
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Category: History Other

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In Christopher Browning’s ’Remembering Survival,’ he offers vision into the importance of survivor video testimonies and how they can be utilised and used in the writing of history. Browning discusses how a variety of primary sources are useful for drawing conclusions from the different testimonies and how valuable this evidence is. By having a large pool of testimonies it allows us to see the different perspectives on the Holocaust and life in Warsaw and how different aspects can be used to build strong, well rounded evidence.
Due to the lack of documentation about the Holocaust, Browning states that post-war testimonies are heavily relied upon. These can be found on the USH Shoah Foundation which was established to gather video testimonies from Holocaust survivors. Browning concludes that eyewitness testimonies are invaluable as they are one of the most accurate forms of evidence and provide first range encounters and a broad range of experiences. In the Walther Becker trial, eyewitness testimonies were dismissed due to the ruling by the Judge that Jewish witnesses did not view the events in a ‘disinterested and distant way’1, nor were they considered to be an ‘indifferent, attentive and intelligent observer.’ 2Due to the primary evidence being dismissed in the case, Becker was able to walk away a free man and this was considered a ‘miscarriage of Justice.’3 Browning shows us how the testimonies evolved and whether there were any manipulative factors that impinged on the witness and influenced their testimony. Free form testimonies gave an understanding as to how survivors and witnesses constructed their memories and on occasion interventionist interviewers were a positive factor. They prompted the survivor to discuss a topic they might not have originally discussed due to disturbing events or repressed memory. By having a wide range of testimonies, it allows the adequate study of the victims and avoid inconsistencies.

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