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The Wonder of Their VoicesThe 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder$
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Alan Rosen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195395129

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395129.001.0001

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Summer, 1946, Part II

Summer, 1946, Part II

The Expansion of Testimony

(p.76) Chapter 3 Summer, 1946, Part II
The Wonder of Their Voices

Alan Rosen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the expansion of Boder's notion of DP testimony. In late August, Boder made his first interview visit outside of France, conducting path breaking interviews at DP centers first in Geneva and then in Tradate, Italy. Among the Geneva interviewees was Abraham Kimmelmann, whose detailed narration, psychological acumen, and moral reflection moved Boder to grant him more than twice the usual time. The breakthrough in time and capaciousness spurred Boder at Tradate to focus on “special episodes,” eliciting from Benjamin Piskorz one of the most perplexing accounts. Another breakthrough came when Boder finally received clearance to travel to Germany, where his interview population became both more representative and diverse. The final Germany interviews, conducted on Rosh Hashana, were among the most important for him, and concluded with his comments shaped by the holiday's emphasis on judgment. Back in Paris, the truly final interview, conducted with the only interviewee who was also a friend and colleague, added a personal element as well as the perspective of a professional historian. The chapter concludes by setting Boder's dedication to song collecting in the context of other such postwar endeavors, and detailing the implications for Boder's work in relation to ethnography.

Keywords:   Geneva, song collecting, ethnography, judgment, Germany, special episodes

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