Memory Perceived

Recalling the Holocaust

by Robert N. Kraft



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 3/15/2019

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 296
ISBN : 9781532052767

About the Book

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

About the Author

Robert N. Kraft is a professor of psychology at Otterbein University, teaching courses in cognition, personality, individual and collective memory, research methods, and the self. After receiving his doctorate, Kraft worked as a decision analyst in Washington, DC, and then became a professor of psychology, at Grinnell College and then Otterbein. His research began with a fifteen-year study of the psychology of film. Following that, he studied deeply traumatic memory and its aftereffects as revealed in the testimony of Holocaust survivors, which resulted in the book, Memory Perceived: Recalling the Holocaust. Kraft’s next book, Violent Accounts (NYU Press), analyzes the psychology of violent perpetrators, drawing on testimony given to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is currently writing a book on memory and the self and a blog for Psychology Today called “Defining Memories.” He tries to split his time between work and family and between Central Ohio and the West Coast.