Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins Of Memory

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Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins Of Memory

By Lawrence L. Langer
Yale University Press, 1991
216 pp. $25.00

Langer's learned discourse, with its many allusions to esoteric literary and philosophical theory, combined with the often raw, faltering, ungrammatical discourses of concentration camp victims, is extraordinarily effective. More than 300 oral testimonies gathered at Yale were drawn on to provide this history of the experiences of these victims and their apparently irreversible feelings of doubt, doom and loss. Langer makes the observation that ordinary notions of heroism, martyrdom and morality in general cannot be applied to the concentration camp experience-no one who has read to any extent at all in survivor literature would think otherwise. This is an incomparable record of the memories of survivors and their psychic pain and confusion. Millions died in the Holocaust-how many millions more were blighted in heart and soul?

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