Holocaust History and Survivor Testimony:
The Case of the Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps
Christopher Browning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The Raoul Wallenberg Annual Program
Supported by the Leon and Toby Cooperman Fund
This lecture will examine the challenge of writing a professionally respectable history of the complex of German factory slave labor camps in the small industrial city of Starachowice, Poland, on the evidentiary basis of the postwar testimonies--some multiple--of 292 Jewish survivors. It will examine the various clusters and forms of testimonies as well as the layers of memory that were encountered in the course of research and writing. It will also examine how the slave labor experience in general and the multi-ethnic milieu of Jews, Germans, Poles, and Ukrainians in particular were refracted through the experiences and memories of these 292 survivors.
Christopher R. Browning is the Frank Porter Graham Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of eight books, including: Collected Memories: Holocaust History and Postwar Testimony (2003) and Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp (2010). He was twice a recipient of the National Jewish Book Award—Holocaust Category, for Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (1992) and The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (2004). Browning has served as the J. B. and Maurice Shapiro Senior Scholar and Ina Levine Senior Scholar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has also served as an expert witness in “war crimes” trials in Australia, Canada, and Great Britain, as well as in two “Holocaust denial” cases.