Citation
What I Saw: Personal Accounts Of Concentration Camp Liberators

Material Information

Title:
What I Saw: Personal Accounts Of Concentration Camp Liberators
Series Title:
19th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium
Creator:
O'Dwyer, Sean
Language:
English
Physical Description:
Undetermined

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Center for Undergraduate Research
Center for Undergraduate Research
Genre:
Conference papers and proceedings
Poster

Notes

Abstract:
What I Saw explores the narratives of concentration camp liberators, that is, U.S. Army veterans who were among the first to come across these notorious sites of the Holocaust. This project analyzes elements the veterans' interviews have in common, such as the notion they were not previously aware of the camps. What I Saw additionally discusses qualities that were unique to each veteran's story, including the trouble with which some veterans had in recounting the traumatic experience of liberation relative to others. What I Saw also attempts to draw conclusions about how these stories fit into the context of Holocaust remembrance, the living memory for which is rapidly fading away. ( en )
General Note:
Research authors: Sean O'Dwyer - University of Florida
General Note:
University Scholars Program
General Note:
Faculty Mentor: What I Saw explores the narratives of concentration camp liberators, that is, U.S. Army veterans who were among the first to come across these notorious sites of the Holocaust. This project analyzes elements the veterans' interviews have in common, such as the notion they were not previously aware of the camps. What I Saw additionally discusses qualities that were unique to each veteran's story, including the trouble with which some veterans had in recounting the traumatic experience of liberation relative to others. What I Saw also attempts to draw conclusions about how these stories fit into the context of Holocaust remembrance, the living memory for which is rapidly fading away. - Center for Undergraduate Research, University Scholars Program

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Sean O'Dwyer. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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What I Saw: Personal Accounts of Concentration Camp Liberators Goda Center for Jewish Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL Methodology Questions Posed to Veterans Conclusions References Introduction Results Map of Concentration Camps What I Saw focuses on the memories of concentration camp liberators and how the trauma embedded in them affected their view of Holocaust liberation in retrospect. One of its chief concerns is the similarities and differences between may contribute to these narrative trends. Describe to me what you saw How did this make you feel emotionally? What did you know about the Holocaust prior to this? Lack of awareness may be rooted in the term While descriptions are vivid, they are not exact replications of what liberators saw/felt in 1945 Liberators were integral to defining German guilt for the Holocaust Liberators were among the first documentarians of the Holocaust The notion of a lack of knowledge about the camps prior to discovering them was prominent among many liberators. A sense of shock and disbelief was also very pronounced in most narratives. Additionally, many liberators were quite vocal regarding where they felt the guilt resided for the crimes committed at the camps: the inaction of German civilians. 1. Cathy Caruth Trauma: Explorations in Memory, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995) 2. Robert Abzug, GIs Remember, (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1994). Approach Walkthrough of Interview Process The veterans were contacted via phone/email and asked if they would be interested in discussing their experiences in World War II. Future Work Considering the dwindling number of liberators as well as WWII veterans more broadly it is imperative these stories are documented while the liberators are still living.