This article explores critical complexes1 relating to the construction of historical captivity in deportation train journeys by examining fictional and testimonial accounts of that experience. Using Thane Rosenbaum's short story "Cattle Car Complex," the author shows that fiction is a prism through which to view victims' experiences of deportation—experiences that tend to be overlooked in interpretive literature about the Holocaust. Historians have examined deportations above all as a perpetrator narrative, utilizing contemporaneous documents and sources. Their treatment neglects the numerous testimonies about the debilitating effects of deportation travel, as well as the evocation of that traumatic transit in post-Holocaust texts and contexts such as fiction, film, art, and museological and commemorative practice. The author argues that sensory witness is a compelling paradigm that can reveal the silences and elisions in representations of historical captivity.


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pp. 256-277
Launched on MUSE
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