Voices of the Holocaust

I make no apology for repeating the topic of a previous post on Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January).   Go and look at/listen to the Voices of the Holocaust website – the earliest known oral histories of the Holocaust, recorded by David Boder (born Aron Mendel Michelson, 1886-1961).  Boder was an academic then at Chicago who during 1946 recorded the immediate experiences of trauma from ‘Displaced Persons’ before most people had begun to deal with their experiences.

…Boder’s recordings, conducted so soon after the war, remain unique and utterly absorbing.  to hear them is to once again enter a room somewhere in Europe as a young man or woman leans forward and, for the first time, shares a life that for five years has been shattered, and for this wise and gentle interviewer to accumulate another fragment in his terrible mosaic.  (Mark Burman)

Boder himself had been a refugee, fleeing the Russian civil war in 1919 via Japan and Mexico and losing his second wife in the Mexican flu epidemic.  He spoke nine languages.  His training in clinical interviewing and “his multilingual, nuanced understanding of east Europe’s fault lines” made him perhaps uniquely qualified for the task.  The website, from the Galvin Library Illinois Institute of Technology, is a model of archival presentation and deserves your attention, as does Boder and his work.


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