A historiographic analysis of a survivor's narrative : the story of Leo Laufer / by Diane Marks Plotkin
Survivors recount their holocaust experiences without the objectivity of historians or the art of poets and novelists. This is one such narrative. It is set within the broader scope of objective historical accounts. The introduction includes a discussion of the methodology utilized in obtaining the history and the reasons for and manner in which it was converted from the interview to narrative form. Chapter two contains: (a) an historical overview of the Jews in Poland from 963 A.D. to 1939; (b) a discussion of the Lodz Ghetto; (c) the narrative, from Leo's childhood to his arrest in 1940; (d) the commentary, discussing the effects of Leo's childhood experiences upon his survival. Chapter three, the labor camps, is divided into: (a) an historical overview of the system of labor camps throughout Poland; (b) Leo's narrative, comprised of fragmented memories of his incarceration; (c) the commentary, comparing his experiences to descriptions of the five camps. Chapter four, the death camps, is divided into: (a) the history of the camps from their inception in 1933; (b) the history and development of Auschwitz; (c) the narrative, consisting of Leo's memories of Auschwitz, the death marches, and Ohrdruf; (d) the commentary, discussing the reasons for his perspective as seen from the purview of the psychological stages of adaptation. Chapter five is divided into: (a) a discussion of the Allied forces converging upon Germany and the liberation of Ohrdruf. It continues with a discussion of the Displaced Persons; (b) the narrative, consisting of Leo's account of his escape from the death march from Ohrdruf and its subsequent liberation, and his work in Germany after the war; (c) a discussion of the survivor's ability to adapt following incarceration. Chapter six is a short description of Leo's life after coming to the United States. Written in the third person, it is documented by direct quotation from those portions of the narrative not included in this work. Chapter seven, the conclusion, emphasizes the fact that although this work cannot and does not answer perpetually unanswered questions, it is important to teach oral history in an attempt to prevent another such atrocity.
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