Trauma in First Person
Diary Writing during the Holocaust
Indiana University Press 2017
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in Genocide StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network January 10, 2018 Robin Buller
In his most recent work, Trauma in First Person: Diary Writing during the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 2017), Amos Goldberg examines Jewish diary writing during the Holocaust—a subject that is familiar to many within and without the academy—from bold, new angles. Rather than using the diary as a historical source, Goldberg’s book centers on the diary as its subject. In addition to closely analyzing the more well-known diaries of Victor Klemperer and Chaim Kaplan, Goldberg incorporates a wide variety of lesser-known first-person narratives into his work, showing the widespread nature of diary writing as a cultural phenomenon during the part. Combining the methods of history, literary studies, and psychology, this impressively interdisciplinary book asks: how did the unfolding of the Holocaust changed victims inner selves? His answers to this question expose the tensions between creation and destruction, and the duality of helplessness and agency, that characterize this genre.
Amos Goldberg is Senior Lecturer and Chair of the History Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Robin Buller is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.