Reframing Holocaust Testimony

Reframing Holocaust Testimony

Noah Shenker
Distribution: World
Publication date: 08/03/2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01713-0
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Institutions that have collected video testimonies from the few remaining Holocaust survivors are grappling with how to continue their mission to educate and commemorate. Noah Shenker calls attention to the ways that audiovisual testimonies of the Holocaust have been mediated by the institutional histories and practices of their respective archives. Shenker argues that testimonies are shaped not only by the encounter between interviewer and interviewee, but also by technical practices and the testimony process. He analyzes the ways in which interview questions, the framing of the camera, and curatorial and programming preferences impact how Holocaust testimony is molded, distributed, and received.

Author Bio

Noah Shenker is 6a Foundation Lecturer in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University.


“What makes Noah Shenker's book so distinctive is his insistence that testimony is shaped by many institutional factors that profoundly effect whether or not a witness is 'allowed' access to deep memory. His discussion of what gets lost in the spaces between formal interviews—during breaks, before interviews, after them—is fascinating, and a very smart way to interrogate what exactly gets remembered, who is in charge of acts of remembrance, and what are further potentialities for archives of Holocaust memory.”
 — Edward Linenthal, author of Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum

“Noah Shenker's research points to key questions about how best to make use of the troves of valuable testimony that have been collected and the dilemmas of balancing the desire to collect, record, and memorialize the Holocaust with the imperatives to teach, research, and prevent future genocides. As scholars turn to usage of A-V testimony in greater numbers, Shenker's work will become an indispensable guide for how to utilize such testimonies critically and effectively.”
 — Avinoam Patt, University of Hartford

“Arguing for enhanced "testimonial literacy," Noah Shenker has taken the study of Holocaust testimonies to a new level by examining the internal working papers as well as key videotaped testimonies of the three major institutions that have created archives of Holocaust testimony. He demonstrates how cultures, agendas, and interviewing practices "frame" the testimonies they have collected as well as how witnesses assert their own voices and tell their own stories.”
 — Christopher Browning, University of North Carolina

“Reframing Holocaust Testimony is essential reading for anyone working with survivor testimonies. Noah Shenker subtly and generously shows us how the survivors' recollection and transmission of their stories are shaped not only by their interviewers' questions, but also by the archival practices of the institutions that make them available to future listeners.”
 — Marianne Hirsch , author of The Generation of Postmemory

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Table of Contents

1. Testimonies from the Grassroots: The Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies
2. The Centralization of Holocaust Testimony: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
3. The Cinematic Origins and the Digital Future of the USC Shoah Foundation
4. Telling and Retelling Holocaust Testimonies
Conclusion: Documenting Testimonies of Genocide through the Lens of the Holocaust

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