The suffering of a single child : uses of an image from the Holocaust / Dorothy P. Abram.
This dissertation is an examination of the ways in which narrative context affects the interpretation of a photograph of historical significance. Out of the vast inventory of Nazi, Allied, and other images, a single photograph has emerged as the most frequently published image used to represent the Holocaust in educational materials. It is Nazi General Juergen Stroop's photograph of a young boy with his arms raised in surrender taken as visual documentation of his annihilation of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943.Through a close examination of the use and effect of this exemplary image in two well documented and different historical settings, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and the trial of Adolf Eichmann, this dissertation addresses the question of how narrative context influences interpretation in the historical setting of the Holocaust. It also considers the image of the innocent child in related contexts of war and suffering, such as the American civil rights movement, national and global educational campaigns, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the Middle East today, and the works of artists, writers, and filmmakers using this iconic image. This close analysis serves not only in enlarging our understanding of the effect on image of narrative context, but also in demonstrating a method of contextual analysis that is of broader use to students, educators, and researchers.The dissertation is presented in sections that comprise: (1) In-depth context for the use of this particular visual image; (2) An introduction to the method of contextual analysis to be applied to each setting—a tripartite approach (visual, projective, and documentary); (3) A description and contextual analysis of the 1946 International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg as the first historical setting or narrative context addressed in this work; (4) A description and contextual analysis of the 1961 trial of Nazi General Adolf Eichmann as the second historical setting or narrative context addressed in this work; (5) A further demonstration of the application of this integrated method of historical photographic analysis for use by teachers, students, and researchers, and (6) An overview of the significance of this work to education.
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