Abstract

Holocaust scholars often privilege survivor testimony by contrasting it with the more detached way history is traditionally studied. By communicating affect rather than fact through its gaps and inconsistencies, testimony's emotional intensity guarantees its authority. The scandal surrounding Binjamin Wilkomirski's Fragments, the false testimony of a troubled man, challenges trauma theory's tendency to identify with victims by showing that the author's trauma can be authentic even when his testimony is not. It is clear that Wilkomirski validated his personal suffering by attributing it to a broad human catastrophe. That such mistaken memory, or memory envy, could be so widely acclaimed challenges the ways we study and use the Holocaust within both American and American-Jewish culture.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1456
Print ISSN
0162-4962
Pages
pp. 25-47
Launched on MUSE
2004-06-25
Open Access
No
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