The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide


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Truth and Witness


An International Workshop on Holocaust Testimonies

The Library hosted an international workshop for the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure from 30 April to 2 May 2012.  The workshop focused on five core topics relating to Holocaust testimonies: audio-visual testimony; the timing of testimony; testimony as evidence, evidence as testimony; translation of Holocaust testimonies and false testimony.  Through generating a creative exchange of knowledge and views between experts in Holocaust research and documentation, this workshop focused on some core issues facing archivists, researchers and scholars across all disciplines.

We were delighted to welcome over 20 speakers from a wide range of different backgrounds including researchers, scholars and experts from academic and collection-holding institutions.  Presentations, divided into 5 different sessions, covered topics ranging from the collection of perpetrator testimonies through to the collection of testimonies from deaf Holocaust survivors.

A number of presentations served to highlight the core themes emerging from the EHRI project covering collaborative projects, issues around access and the challenges of working with testimony.  We were very pleased to welcome Dr Neal Guthrie from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to present their work on translating and transcribing testimonies from the ‘Witnesses, Collaborators and Perpetrators' collection.  Through networking and formal discussions, participants considered the challenges of translation and accessibility in opening up collections to the English speaking world and developing universal search terms and research guides, one of the main focal points of the EHRI project.

The workshop proved immensely popular, with each session fully booked and in most cases oversubscribed.  The sessions attracted a diverse audience including representatives from academic institutions, heritage organisations and Holocaust education organisations, scholars and students, private experts and those with a personal connection or interest in the subject matter. Participants originated from across Europe, USA and Israel.  This varied audience allowed for stimulating and wide-ranging discussions in all sessions, and served to promote networking and participation, enabling those from outside the traditional Holocaust research field to interact with existing experts.

Added: Monday 30th April, 2012