The Trajectory of Memory

Transgeneration and the Pitfalls of Narrative Closure
  • Stephen Smith


Holocaust witness is the witness of imposed death. But the dying is twofold. There is both the murder of the individual and also the death of the memory of the individual and all that to which the individual belonged. The murdered individual cannot be restored. The death of the memory of the individual (and all that to which the individual belonged) can be — if only in part. To witness as a survivor is to witness one’s own potential fate, but also to restore to narrative a part of the destruction of that and those who did not survive to bear their own testimony. To witness is also to project the memory of that past onto the contemporary discourse and to contribute to the collective conscience in respect of those events, in the present and for the sake of posterity.


Human Dignity Jewish Community Holocaust Survivor Mass Death Multiple Voice 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Stephen Smith

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