The idea of the bibliography is to provide the public and the scholarly community with references and analysis to texts published by survivors. In view of the mass of writings on the Holocaust and the relative neglect for published eye-witness testimonies by large libraries and depositories, we felt that it was useful to establish a bibliography that concentrates exclusively on survivors words at the exclusion the numerous commentaries of different nature which embrace a larger vision of the Holocaust. Indeed as we wrote in articles that can be found on this site, the intense attention given to oral testimonies took priority over the published texts that everyone assumed were preserved. This is, alas, far from being the case and this situation justifies the present specific collection.
The HLRI collects testimonial books in any language, trying as much as possible to provide English and French translations and offers the data in two parallel set-ups one in English, the other in French.
This bibliography is a work in progress and as such, many entries are not complete. Several have only the basic bibliographic data since we did not have access to the book to complete the analysis. We have also recorded traces of books for which we have no definitive or complete bibliographic data. We felt that it was important to include these potential entries as to direct our further research.
We have recorded the texts written by survivors about their experience even if they do not contain a description of their life conditions during the war or follow a historical documentary approach to the events. These texts may be primarily philosophical, psychological or religious by nature but we consider them as testimonies since they express the deep personal experiences that survivors lived.
The selection of data categories was done as to guide the looker towards the texts that may respond to their enquiry more than as a complete description of the content. For instance, in the annotations, we limit ourselves at recording three countries and three camps. We also only recorded countries or camps on which the author made comments. For instance, we did not record Poland for Primo Levi since his only experience of Poland was his life in the camp of Monovitz (which is recorded). As it is often the case, many categories we established do not apply perfectly to all books and are not mutually exclusive, thus many answers are subjective and open to question.
Please refer to the definitions section that gives the interpretation we made for each entry.
Several entries of the bibliography are included as to allow statistical analysis of the entire corpus. In view of the variety of the kind of format used by survivors or editors, the untreated figures will require additional refinements and explanations.
In view of the various forms that testimonies may take, we have adopted an inclusive policy, meaning that we included some texts that report indirectly the individualized experience of specific persons. Several texts, especially more recent ones are marginal from our criteria (for instance, children telling the stories of their parents as they understood it) or are only responding to them in part (for instance when a survivor recalls his or her entire life and only devotes a portion to his or her war experience). We have elected to err on the side of inclusion.
We invite you to read some of the articles published on this website (refer to the publications section) to further understand the spirit in which this collection was established and developed.