Memory Perceived: Recalling the Holocaust analyzes the oral testimony of Holocaust survivors for the purpose of understanding and explaining deeply traumatic memory.
Robert N. Kraft, a professor of psychology at Otterbein University, highlights 129 separate accounts that recorded at the Fortunoff Video Archive of Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.
The testimonies reveal the patterns of Holocaust memory and the persistent influence of memory on the lives of survivors and their families. They also highlight how memory responds to atrocity and how Holocaust survivors comprehend and remember their experiences and ultimately adapt.
A synthesis of a myriad of memories shows that Holocaust memory exists at two levels. Core memory is the representation of the original phenomenal events in the form of visual images, sounds, smells, tastes, emotions, and bodily sensations. These are as vivid and compelling as dreams. Narrative memory is constructed from the images in core memory, shaped in accordance with narrative conventions, and conveyed primarily in language.
To give testimony is to remember for the purpose of remembering—and witnesses are motivated by a fundamental desire to tell what happened. Discover what they have to say in this important book.
Kraft’s incredible work captures what is currently lacking in the Holocaust literature: how to represent and hold onto the atrocity, the tragedy, when all that is left is memory.
—Linda G. Mills, professor of social work, public policy and law; executive director, Center on Violence and Recovery, New York University