Abstract

The historiography of the Holocaust and of genocide faces a crisis as time-honored forms of narrating the political events or major battles that took place—dates, locations, military accomplishments, and number of casualties—no longer suffice to capture the horror, pain, loss, and destruction suffered by those afflicted. Historians are rendered speechless in the face of such events. Yet it is through this very speechlessness that historians begin to testify to history as trauma. Where else can such absence of narrative, such speechlessness, be found? Reports from Israel in 1990 indicated that about one-fifth of chronically hospitalized psychiatric patients were Holocaust survivors. In most cases, no history of their persecution experience existed in their medical charts. A video-testimony study was conducted in 2002 and 2003 with twenty-six such patients, in an attempt to elicit their histories. Psychological testing demonstrated marked improvements in their trauma-related symptoms five months after the video testimony was given.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 253-265
Launched on MUSE
2006-01-25
Open Access
No
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