And Till the Ghastly Tale Is Told: Sarah Kofman – Primo Levi

Survivors of the Shoah and the Dangers of Testimony

in European Judaism
View More View Less
  • 1 Independent scholar
Restricted access

The great catastrophes of history can be recognised through the paralysed silence which they leave in their wake, a silence which frequently is broken only to make way for the falsifications of memory. BEtween silence and falsification, a third path may be opened. For those who are capable of it, this path involves saying what happened, writing in the first person. This third possibility is doubly valorised. First of all, it offers a public testimony. It allows a truth which is unspeakable or not to be spoken to erupt onto the social scene. Secondly, it is meant to have a cathartic function. The author of the testimony would in this way be unburdening himself o a horror too heavy to bear. Put into words, his suffering would become something which could be shared. It is this sharing which will be discussed here, its power to grant peace. One may doubt this power.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe