The Continual Trauma of Survivorship: the Historical Complexities of Time Constructs in Relation to Holocaust Diaries, Memoirs, and Testimonies


This research investigates what it means to be a survivor of genocide and how scholars engage with survivorship. More specifically, this case study reveals that the term ‘post-Holocaust’ does not provide an accurate depiction of what it means to have survived the Holocaust. It is by using an interdisciplinary approach and the compilation of Holocaust literature that the thesis of ‘post- Holocaust’ does not and cannot wholly represent the continuation of trauma for those that had survived is proven. When considering this term, there is the one hand where victims of the Holocaust do not survive the horrors of genocide and thereby the Holocaust has erased the possibility of an after. On the other hand, for those who survived they continually live with the Holocaust as it did not abruptly end in 1945 as historical timelines would suggest. More specifically, the first chapter delves into Holocaust diaries and the majority of the diarists’ inability to escape the Holocaust as they perished and thereby they cannot experience a ‘post- Holocaust’ because there is no after. It is then that the focus shifts to explore Holocaust memoirs and the discussion of time. The Holocaust memoirist frequently addresses the alteration of time including the period following 1945 and how the Holocaust continues to impact the lives of survivors. This is true when the topic changes to generational memoirs and the trauma that has been inherited from survivors to their descendants. For descendants of the Holocaust, there is no after because they have not experienced a before the Holocaust. Lastly, as a case study to include various points from the prior chapters, the multi-generational oral testimony structured around the Tabak family serves as evidence that time does not function on a linear path and trauma does not end, but rather continues on thus preventing a ‘post-Holocaust.’ This research is meant to provide evidence that scholars must be more aware of the impact of the terminology that is utilized in relationship to survivors of any trauma as it can minimize the actual impact of an event on an individual or group.



History, European