Bearing Witness More Than Once. How Institutions, Media and Time Shape Shoah Survivors’ Testimonies

Bearing Witness More Than Once. How Institutions, Media and Time Shape Shoah Survivors’ Testimonies

Alina Bothe / Dr. Andree Michaelis, Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg; Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder; Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung Berlin
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Senatsaal, 1. floor, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Vom - Bis
14.03.2016 - 16.03.2016
Alina Bothe, Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg

While many survivors have chosen not to bear witness, others have done so on multiple occasions. Their accounts give us multifaceted insights into the genre of testimony, asking how media, institutions and time shape the testimonies of Shoah survivors. While it has been stated often that each testimony is a single narration, influenced by aspects such as national memorial cultures, gender, and time, the task still remains to precisely analyse how these different factors shape survivors’ testimonies. In this conference, we understand testimonial accounts not as static sources, but as changing narratives that are in continuous interaction with the institutional, medial, and discursive contexts of their creation. We will focus on audio-visual and digital testimonies from different archives, but also include written testimonies in several case studies on different survivors who bore witness more than once. The discussion of individual survivors, such as Anita Lasker-Wallfisch or Yehuda Bacon, will be framed by presentations on more general topics such as institutions and different media. Among the speakers at this conference are scholars of all genres of testimony as well as interviewing experts from different archives. The program offers in-depth discussions and an innovative approach towards survivor testimony as an intimate source of knowledge in present-day memory culture.

Please register via e-mail to Alina Bothe
( until 5.3.2016

Supported by
Ernst-Reuter-Gesellschaft der Freunde, Förderer und Ehemaligen der Freien Universität Berlin e.V.
Axel Springer Stiftung
Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung
Frauenfördermittel des Osteuropa-Instituts der Freien Universität Berlin
Frauenfördermittel des Fachbereichs Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften der Freien Universität Berlin
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung


Monday, 14.3.2016

17:45 Registration

18:15 Opening and Welcome Address
Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Board of Directors, Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandeburg

18:45 Opening Speech, Prof. Dr. Annette Wieviorka (Paris): Does the Disappearance of the Witnesses Mark the End of an Era?
(Chair: Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Berlin)

19:45 Reception

Tuesday, 15.3.2016

9:00 Keynote: Jeffrey Shandler (New Jersey): “Keep Talking!”: A Celebrity Holocaust Survivor’s Life Story Retold
(Chair: Gertrud Pickhan, Berlin)

10:00 Coffee Break

10:30 Alina Bothe (Berlin), Andree Michaelis (Frankfurt/Oder): Introduction

11:15 1. Panel: Institutional Frameworks
(Chair: Diane L. Wolf, Davis)
Jared Stark (Florida): Questioning Authority: The Holocaust Testimony of Jolly Zeleny
Yehudit Dori-Deston (Jerusalem): Treblinka Survivors on the Witness Stand: Eliyahu Rosenberg’s Testimony in the Eichmann Trial, Treblinka Trials and Demjanjuk Trial
Henry Greenspan (Michigan): Putting Context in Context: Consistency and Difference in Multiple Accounts by the Same Survivors

13:30 Lunch Break

14:45 2. Panel: The Testimonies by Anita Lasker-Wallfisch
(Chair: Aubrey Pomerance, Berlin)
Christina Brüning (Berlin): Remembering Bearing Witness for the first time
Christoph Thonfeld (Taipei): Interviewing Anita Lasker-Wallfisch – Historical Analysis of Multiple Testimony
Cord Pagenstecher/Dorothee Wein (Berlin): Testimonies in Digital Environments. Supporting “Quellenkritik” with Anita Lasker-Wallfisch

17:00 Coffee Break
17:30 3. Panel: Transmedial and Transhistorical Perspectives
(Chair: Markus Nesselrodt, Berlin)
Judith Gerson (New Brunswick): Testimonial Accounts as Explanations of Survivor Narratives
Dana Mihăilescu (Bucharest): Shifts in Testimony Focus depending on Medium and Temporal Context: On Ruth Glasberg Gold’s Holocaust Experiences in Transnistria

19:00 Conclusion of Second Day’s Papers

Wednesday, 16.3.2016

9:00 Keynote: Oren Baruch Stier (Florida): Landmarks of Memory: Memorial and Institutional Frames for Holocaust Videotestimonies
(Chair: Andree Michaelis, Frankfurt an der Oder)

10:00 Coffee Break

10:30 4. Panel: The Testimonies by Yehuda Bacon
(Chair: Andrea Genest, Berlin)
Sharon Kangisser Cohen (Jerusalem): Reframing Behavior: The Testimonies of Yehuda Bacon
Teresa Schäfer (Berlin): Testimony as Dialogue
Kobi Kabalek (Jerusalem): “Professional Survivors” and the Shape of Holocaust Memory

12:45 Lunch Break

14:00 5. Panel: The Future of Testimony
(Chair: Alina Bothe, Berlin)
James Jordan (Southampton): Is the Medium the Message? The Oral, Literal, Visual, Virtual Transition of Testimony
Alasdair Richardson (Winchester): Who Owns my Story?
 Holocaust Survivors Evaluating the Changing Landscapes of their Own Narratives over Time.
Rachel Baum (Wisconsin): Remediating the Body of the Witness: Holocaust Testimonies in New Media

16:15 Coffee Break

16:30 Roundtable, Closing Remarks
(Chair: Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Berlin)
Participants: Annette Wieviorka, Jeffrey Shandler, Oren B. Stier, Diane L. Wolf

17:30 Closing


Alina Bothe

Zentrum Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg
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