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Collected Memories
Holocaust History and Post-War Testimony

George L. Mosse Series in Modern European Culture and Intellectual History
Steven E. Aschheim, Skye Doney, Mary Louise Roberts, and David J. Sorkin, Series Editors

How can historians best use problematic sources, flawed by human memory and trauma?

Christopher R. Browning addresses some of the most heated controversies that have arisen from the use of postwar testimony: Hannah Arendt's uncritical acceptance of Adolf Eichmann's self-portrayal in Jerusalem; the conviction of Ivan Demjanuk (accused of being Treblinka death camp guard "Ivan the Terrible") on the basis of survivor testimony and its subsequent reversal by the Israeli Supreme Court; the debate in Poland sparked by Jan Gross's use of both survivor and communist courtroom testimony in his book Neighbors; and the conflict between Browning himself and Daniel Goldhagen, author of Hitler's Willing Executioners, regarding methodology and interpretation in the use of pre-trial testimony.

Despite these controversies and challenges, Browning delineates the ways in which the critical use of such problematic sources can provide telling evidence for writing Holocaust history. He examines and discusses two starkly different sets of "collected memories"—the voluminous testimonies of notorious Holocaust perpetrator Adolf Eichmann and the testimonies of 175 survivors of an obscure complex of factory slave labor camps in the Polish town of Starachowice.


Christopher R. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of many books, including Ordinary Men, The Path to Genocide, and Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers. In 2002 he delivered at the University of Wisconsin–Madison the first of the George L. Mosse Lectures, upon which this book is based.


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November 2003
LC: 2003007237 D
120 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $17.95 a
ISBN 9780299189846
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