Judaism, Writing, and Oral History after 1945 – University of Copenhagen

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Judaism, Writing, and Oral History after 1945

Half-day research seminar (organized by Claudia Welz)

Abstract

This research seminar explores the relation between writing and oral history in Jewish testimonies after 1945. What role does life writing, fiction, or face-to-face narration play in survivors’ attempts of existential re-orientation in the aftermath of trauma? Different perspectives need to be taken into account – in Denmark, for instance, those of Jewish children hidden in Christian families between 1943 and 1945, those of their parents exiled in Sweden, and of other family members deported to Theresienstadt. If one compares the stories of Jews in Denmark with those of Jews in other European countries, which similarities and differences can be seen in the content, form, and communication of their oral and/or written testimonies? How do historical and fictional accounts pay tribute to the complexity of intertwined or opposed perspectives, or to unavailable, only hypothetically reconstructed identities of those who never returned to tell their stories? These questions will be approached in an interdisciplinary dialogue that includes history, literary theory, and memory studies.

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