Faculty Publications

Title

Language of witness: Survivor testimony and narrative representation of the mauthausen experience

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Holocaust, Mauthausen, Nazi concentration camps, Survivor accounts

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Discourses on Nations and Identities

First Page

591

Last Page

603

Abstract

This study analyses and compares how survivors of the Nazi concentration camp of Mauthausen (Austria) recount significant events or situations in the camp at specific times and places in their testimonies published, right after the liberation, between 1945 and 1950. As an initial and exploratory stage of a large-scale investigation into survivor narratives, this article highlights two intersecting events at the Mauthausen main camp, Himmler’s visits and the arrival of Dutch Jews, and addresses the question of how Gostner, Hoffmann, Schifko-Pungartnik, Stantke, and Wiesenthal in their written accounts assessed, understood, reconstructed, and transmitted similar events, and how these camp experiences shaped their individual social realities. Preliminary answers in this study suggest that a systematic and comprehensive comparison of the inmates’ individual perceptions provides a more nuanced understanding of survivors’ shared harrowing experiences at the main camp of Mauthausen. Specifically, the study’s findings reveal how survivors interpreted their daily social reality as they were profoundly transformed and deeply scarred by the brutal and denigrating processes, hierarchies, and rules at the camp.

Department

Department of Languages and Literatures

Original Publication Date

1-18-2021

DOI of published version

10.1515/9783110642018-046

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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