Coda: Reading Witness Discourse

  • Hayden White
Part of the The Holocaust and Its Contexts book series (HOLC)


I open the second volume of the highly acclaimed book of Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933–1945: The Years of Extermination, 1939–1945 (2008), expecting to find something like the statement which opens the second volume of Richard J. Evans’s similarly acclaimed The Third Reich in Power, 1933–1939 (2006). Evans’s book begins: ‘This is the story of the Third Reich, [...] from the moment when it completed its seizure of power in the summer of 1933 to [...] the beginning of September 1939’ (p. xv.). But I do not find this kind of opening in Friedländer’s book; I do not even find any statement about this being a ‘history’ of Nazi Germany and the Jews. Instead, I find — just after the title and the dedication — on a single page by itself, the following words presented in the following format:

The struggle to save myself is hopeless .... But that’s not important. Because I am able to bring my account to its end and trust that it will see the light of day when the time is right ... And people will know what happened ... And they will ask, is this the truth? I reply in advance: No, this is not the truth, this is only a small part, a tiny fraction of the truth .... Even the mightiest pen could not depict the whole, real, essential truth



Tiny Fraction Single Page Essential Truth Jewish Question Literary Artist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works cited

  1. Evans, R. (2006) The Third Reich in Power, 1933–1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation (New York: Penguin).Google Scholar
  2. Friedländer, S. (2008) Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933–1945: The Years of Extermination, 1939–1945 (New York: Harper Collins).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hayden White 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayden White

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations