What Can be Learned about Antisemitism from Holocaust Survivor Testimonies? A Narrative Inquiry Approach
Keywords:Antisemitism, Jewishness, Nazism, narrative analysis, identity-models
Purpose: The purpose of this contribution is to analyse a set of Holocaust survivor testimony transcripts in order to find out their educational value regarding the connection between antisemitism of the past and the present. The narrative analyses are used to generate questions that might be relevant for addressing certain curricular aims within German Social Science Education.
Approach: Testimony transcripts of six Jewish Holocaust survivors were reconstructed using portraiture techniques with the aim of capturing the essence of the experience of being Jewish in a given socio-cultural context. Certain themes from the stories were picked out and probed further with other historical and scholarly literature so as to lend them depth and generalisability to theoretical concepts.
Findings: Within the context of antisemitism, the following themes are identified and discussed: a sense of safety, love, belonging, solidarity and resistance; set-apart times, Kristallnacht and the burning of the Book of Books; an example of an “identity model” under tension; Father-Son relationship and continued experiences of antisemitic stereotypes. Questions are generated about aspects of cultural and national self-image that could be relevant in Social Science Education.