Decontructing the Holocaust
01 Mar 1995-Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Oxford University Press)-Vol. 9, Iss: 1, pp 130-144
About: This article is published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.The article was published on 1995-03-01. It has received 1 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: The Holocaust.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a strategy for exposing witness accounts to an uncompromising criteria of evidentiality and plausibility, designed to test their representational quality as a means of preempting negationist attempts to manipulate "faulty" accounts.
Abstract: Witness testimonies provide a singular challenge to historians of Auschwitz. Survivor accounts offer a privileged perspective on the world of the camp, yet as recent conceptual work has shown the performative structure of these texts exceeds and eludes this representational duty. The challenge for historians is that, given their privileged, ‘insider’ status, any equivocality regarding the content of witness testimonies provides space for Holocaust denial. This paper offers a critical reading of one historical strategy for meeting this challenge: Exposing witness accounts to an uncompromising criteria of evidentiality and plausibility, designed to test their representational quality as a means of preempting negationist attempts to manipulate ‘faulty’ accounts. Drawing on Lyotard, I argue that, even as this strategy succeeds in refuting individual cases of denial, by refusing to enter into dialogue with the language game of testimony, and, more importantly, by invalidating any attempt to do so, this strateg...