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Collect and Record!Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe$
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Laura Jockusch

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199764556

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764556.001.0001

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History Writing as Reconstruction

History Writing as Reconstruction

The Beginnings of Holocaust Research from the Perspective of Its Victims

Chapter:
(p.186) Conclusion History Writing as Reconstruction
Source:
Collect and Record!
Author(s):

Laura Jockusch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764556.003.0006

The conclusion examines similarities and differences among the featured commissions and documentation centers and evaluates their importance for Holocaust studies. It argues that part of the reason why the early postwar documentation initiatives did not receive the attention of historians who were not survivors themselves was that their methods at the time were anathema to the rules of academic history writing which came to dominate the study of the Holocaust. For decades, the latter remained perpetrator-focused and regime-centered, taking a “top-down” perspective on the Jewish catastrophe. By contrast, the survivors’ popular and interdisciplinary approach relied on testimony and memory and focused on writing the history of everyday life and death of European Jews under Nazi rule from the bottom up. Only in the past two decades did similar approaches enter the academic study of the Holocaust and historians begin to consider both victim and perpetrator source to write an integrated history of the Holocaust.

Keywords:   academic history writing, bottom-up perspective, history of everyday life, interdisciplinary, memory, perpetrator-focused, regime-centered, testimony, top-down perspective

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