Jews' Diaries and Chronicles

Amos Goldberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Diary and memoir writing by Jews was the most significant and typical literary phenomenon of the Holocaust period. This article shows that Jews from almost all ages and cultural backgrounds wrote such documents in nearly all locations of persecution, including Auschwitz. Treating the 'Holocaust diary' as a linguistic-cultural phenomenon, it offers a typology: the 'documentary diary' focuses on recording events and raises the question of cultural continuity; the 'synecdochical diary' concentrates on the writer's individual experience and its relation to history; the 'reflective diary' explores existential and semi-philosophical issues. The article concludes by examining the reception of diaries and commenting on whether these texts bear witness to the persistence of the human spirit or precisely the opposite.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191594724
ISBN (Print)9780199211869
StatePublished - 25 Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2010 With the exception of Chapter 11: Rescuers © Debórah Dwork 2010. All rights reserved.


  • Auschwitz
  • Documentary diary
  • Holocaust diary
  • Jewish memoirs
  • Reflective diary
  • Synecdochical diary


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