Trauma in First Person

Diary Writing During the Holocaust

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Amos Goldberg
  • Bloomington, IN: 
    Indiana University Press
    , October
     344 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Amy Simon forthcoming.


What are the effects of radical oppression on the human psyche? What happens to the inner self of the powerless and traumatized victim, especially during times of widespread horror? In this bold and deeply penetrating book, Amos Goldberg addresses diary writing by Jews under Nazi persecution. Throughout Europe, in towns, villages, ghettos, forests, hideouts, concentration and labor camps, and even in extermination camps, Jews of all ages and of all cultural backgrounds described in writing what befell them. Goldberg claims that diary and memoir writing was perhaps the most important literary genre for Jews during World War II. Goldberg considers the act of writing in radical situations as he looks at diaries from little-known victims as well as from brilliant diarists such as Chaim Kaplan and Victor Kemperer. Goldberg contends that only against the background of powerlessness and inne r destruction can Jewish responses and resistance during the Holocaust gain their proper meaning.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Amos Goldberg is senior lecturer in Holocaust Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He is the author of Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing During the Holocaust and the co-editor with Bashir Bashir of Traumatic Past and Civil Spheres: The Holocaust and the Nakba in Israel/Palestine.

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