Last updated:
May 29, 2003

[Narrative Psychology]

 Narrative in Other Disciplines

 Shoah (the Holocaust) & Genocide Studies; Crimes Against Humanity



Background  ||  Internet  ||  Bibliographical  ||  Theorists


Background Issues

As the 20th century approached its conclusion, some historian commented that it might be characterized as the most sanguinary in human memory. At least eleven million human beings were deliberately and systematically murdered in Europe under the Nazi regime from 1933 until 1945. Among these, the Jewish people of the continent were specifically singled out by ethnic identity for complete extermination under what was euphemistically called "the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem." Shoah, the Hebrew term for the Holocaust, signfies the totality of the horrific experience borne by Jews in this, the most extreme of moral calamities. But, the Holocaust serves as only one, if the most compelling, of numerous genocidal programmes carried out throughout the world over the past hundred years: Armenians slaughtered in Turkey, Kulaks and other "enemies of the State" in the Soviet Union, the Khmer Rouge's terror in Cambodia, Serbian "ethnic cleansing" of Muslim and other nationalities in Bosnia, the ethnic murders of Rwanda and Burundi, and, even, the state-sponsored military terrorism of Latin American dictatorships against their own peoples.

The resources on this page focus upon the stories of the survivors and those who have given testimony to the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity and genocidal experiences of this century. These narratives not only bear witness to a moral universe gone beserk in hardly imaginable ways, but permit us to examine our humanity from a psychological perspective of extraordinary depth and urgency. At the end of April, 2003, the Library of Congress had listed 617 items under the subject title of "Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives." Hence, the limited number of materials below are quite selective and represent only a fraction of the resources available to study the Holocaust and narrative.

Materials at this site are presented under the subheadings of


Theorists*Key Figures


Internet Resouces

Web Genocide Documentation Center: Internet Resources on Genocide and Mass Killings
[Dr. Stuart D. Stein, Faculty of Economics & Social Sciences, University of the West of England]

This is a comprehensive site which focuses upon both the Shoah and other genocidal experiences. The page editor notes: "The resources made available here, or linked to, are those that I consider to be of  relevance in the context of describing and explaining some of the most important twentieth-century genocidal and mass man-made killing occurrences.  They are resources that are used by students who take my courses on Comparative Genocide and the Holocaust at the Universities of the West of England and Bristol." Of particular note at this site is the central access it provides to many official documents and reports for the Shoah and more recent atrocities. Prof. Stein has annotated many links here. This is a marvelous companion site to those below and can be explored with profit by anyone researching genocide in the 20th century.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies Page (Linda Woolf, Webster University, St. Louis, MO)

Dr. Linda M. Woolf, Associate Professor of Psychology at Webster University, maintains an extraordinary collection of resources for teachers, students, and others about the Holocaust and Genocide Studies. A member of Webster University's Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Woolf provides a vast range of supporting materials in addition to copies of her syllabi in psychology courses such as Nazi Science: Human Experimentation vs. Human Rights and Genocide.


 The Shoah (Holocaust)

Literature of the Holocaust

Compiled by Prof. Al Filreis of the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania who states that "these pages are about hope," this site contains far more concerning the Holocaust than simply links referring to literature and literary studies. Filreis has assembled a broad-based, in-depth, and up-to-date set of resources related to the Holocaust. An important site for this topic. Check out as well the extensive materials relating to his course, The Literature of the Holocaust (English 293), which are found online in the English Gopher at Penn.

Cybrary of the Holocaust [Michael Declan Dunn]

This very large site includes the texts of five books by survivors, educational materials by which to teach the Holocaust, testimonies of camp liberators and other resources from witnesses to the Holocaust, a section devoted to children of survivors, both artand poetry produced by contemporary children as they imagine the Holocaust (amazing work!), and a collection ofimages of the Holocaust drawn from all over the world.

Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University Library

A collection of over 3,600 videotaped interviews with witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust, the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies is part of Manuscripts and Archives, at Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University. This site features (1) Excerpts from Testimonies; (2) Information for Visitors; (3) Activities of the Archive; (4) History and Concept of the Archive; (5) Affiliate projects; (6) Edited Programs for Schools and Community Groups; and (7) Information about the Guide to Yale University Library HolocaustVideo Testimonies (2nd ed.).

The Nizkor Project: [Ken McVay, Canada]

"Nizkor" is a Hebrew word meaning "we will remember." At this very broad and rich site for resources, browsers will find information related to many projects: documentation of the Holocaust via the Shofar FTP project and the HWEB project, responses to those "revisionists" who deny the reality of the Holocaust, links to other Internet materials on the Holocaust, etc.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center [Los Angeles]

In its own words, "the Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international center for Holocaust remembrance and the defense of human rights and the Jewish people. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Center's mandate is a unique combination of social action, public outreach, scholarship, education and media projects as it imparts the lessons of the Holocaust and develops educational strategies for teaching tolerance." Includes the

To Save A Life: Stories of Jewish Rescue [Ellen Land-Weber]

In a previously unpublished book, Ellen Land-Weber has assembled, in her own words, " true stories narrated by six rescuers accompanied by the narratives of nine people whom they rescued. Three stories take place in Holland; the others are set in Polandmand Czechoslovakia. Contemporary photographic portraits of the rescuers and people whom they helped were made by the author, while vintage photographs and other documents relating to the individual rescue stories were collected from the subjects' personal albums and historical archives. "

Anne Frank Online [Anne Frank Center USA]

104th Infantry Division: Mittelbau Dora, Concentration Camp (Nordhausen, Germany) Graphic photos and personal accounts of the liberation of this camp on 11 April 1945 by members of this US Army division.

US Holocaust Memorial Museum [Washington, DC]

Annual Holocaust Conference Homepage [Millersville University History Dept., PA]

Voices of the Holocaust: A Documentary Project by the Illinois Institute of Technology

"During the summer of 1998, Galvin Library staff uncovered a 16-volume set of typescripts that detail first-hand accounts of horrible brutality, incredible survival, and liberation of Holocaust victims. The set includes 70 of the original 109 interviews that were conducted in 1946 and transcribed into English by Dr. David Boder. The survivors interviewed included farmers, lawyers, artists, carpenters and others representing all economic levels, many religions, and various nationalities and language groups from across Europe. The Paul V. Galvin Library of Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) identified the collection as primary source material for scholars interested in the Holocaust, as well as a learning tool for the general public, and decided to republish it through the World Wide Web. The actual voices of the survivors can be heard on wire recordings, which are held at the Library of Congress. The site is still under construction." from site blurb

Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust (Dimensions Online, Anti-Defamation League) Spring, 2003 issue of this Journal of Holocaust Studies

Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

PBS Online: Materials from the Public Broadcasting Service's documentary films dealing with the Shoah and other genocidal matters.

Holocaust Pictures Exhibition [François Schmitz, Belgium] 37 images of the Holocaust with English and French comments.

L'Chaim: A Holocaust Web Project

Other Internet Resources pertaining to Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Cambodia: Beauty and Darkness - The Odyssey of the Khmer People [Bruce Sharp]

This site is designed to provide information on the recent history of Cambodia, particulary the Khmer Rouge period. This includes not only materials pertaining to Cambodia, but information relating to Cambodian refugees and immigrants abroad, as well.

Guatemala: Memory of Silence [Science and Human Rights Data Center; AAAS]. Report of the Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification.


"Five years ago [in April 1994], the Hutu-dominated government of Rwanda launched a three-month genocidal campaign against the Tutsi minority. At least 500,000 people were killed, three quarters of the Tutsi of Rwanda. In what is sure to become one of the standard reference works on this "killing campaign," Human Rights Watch has recently released an 807-page study based on Rwandan government records, diplomatic papers, and court documents. The study "dissects the deceptive discourse of genocide and shows how ordinary administrative structures and practices were turned into mechanisms of murder." In addition, it examines the actions of the major international actors, who withdrew the UN troops when the genocide began. The study "details the transformation of international indifference into tardy criticism. By showing how even feeble censure caused changes in the genocidal program, the study suggest[s] what might have been the result had the world promptly and firmly cried 'Never Again.'" The full text of this extensive report is available online, by chapter, in HTML format." [This citation is taken from The Scout Report (Vol. 5, No. 48; April 9, 1999)

Bibliographical Resources

This section classifies materials in part according to the categorical structure of the very helpful annotated bibliography found in Teaching about the Holocaust: A Resource Book for Educators issued by the Resource Center for Educators at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (undated).

A small section has also been added for books published about other genocidal experiences under the label Genocide Studies


General and Specialized History

Bartov, O. (1996). Murder in our midst: The Holocaust, industrial killing, and representation. New York: Oxford University Press.


Friedlander, H. (1995). The origins of Nazi genocide: From euthanasia to the final solution. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. [DD256.5.F739 1995]

According to Friedlander, the mass slaughter of Jews, Gypsies, and others during the war years after 1941 was organically linked to and the almost inevitable outcome of the "systematic and secret execution of the handicapped" in 1940 and 1941 during "Nazi Germany's first organized mass murder". Here the ideological roots of the Holocaust, the cooperation of the academic, medical, and legal worlds of Germany and the first experiments to find a methodology for human extermination are described in scholarly and well-written detail.

Hilberg, R. (1985). The destruction of the European Jews. Vol. 1-3. (rev. ed.) New York: Holmes & Meier. [D810.J4 H5 1985 v.1-3]

Held by many to be the definitive history of the Holocaust. 1213 pages. Also available in a condensed "student edition" (of 360 pages).

LaCapra, D. (1996). Representing the Holocaust: History, theory, trauma. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

LaCapra, D. (1997). Revisiting the historians' debate: Mourning and genocide. History & Memory, 9(1-2), 80-112.

LaCapra, D. (1998). History and memory after Auschwitz. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

LaCapra, D. (1999). Trauma, absence, loss. Critical Inquiry, 25(4), 696-727.

LaCapra, D. (2000). Writing history, writing trauma. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. [blurb at JHUP]

Lipstadt, D. E. (1993). Denying the Holocaust: The growing assault on truth and memory. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International. [ D804.35 .L57 1993]

Marrus, M. R. (1987). The Holocaust in history. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England for Brandeis University Press. [D804.3 .M37 1987]

Historiography and a fine introduction to the Holocaust.

Rosenthal, G. (Ed.). (1998). The Holocaust in three generations: Families of victims and perpertrators of the Nazi regime. London, UK: Cassell.

Yahil, L. (1990). The Holocaust: The fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945 (I. Friedman & H. Galai, Trans.). New York: Oxford University Press.


Breitman, R. (1991). The architect of genocide: Himmler and the final solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Keneally, T. (1992). Schindler's list. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Sereny, G. (1983). Into that darkness. New York: Random House.

This book contains the testimony of Franz Stangl who was convicted as a Nazi war criminal and interviewed in prison by the author.


Kosinksi, J. (1983). The painted bird. New York: Random House.

The fictionalized experience of the author as a six-year-old. Searing.

Memoirs and Diaries

Lanzmann, C. (1985). Shoah: An oral history of the Holocaust: The complete text of the film. New York: Pantheon Books. [D810.J4 L275513 1985] See Film Resources below.

Levi, P. (1996). Survival in Auschwitz: the Nazi assault on humanity (S. Woolf, Trans.). New York: Touchstone. (Originally published 1958)

Originally appearing in 1958 in Italian as Se questo e un uomo and in 1986 in English as If This is A Man, (along with The Reawakening), Levi's spare description of his December 1943 arrest by Italian Fascists and January 1944 deportation to Auschwitz has become recognized as one of the literary classics about and primary witnesses to the destruction and death of the German camps.

Wiesel, E. (1985). The night trilogy [Night, Dawn, The accident]. New York: Noonday Press. [PQ2683.I32 Z467 1987]

Poetry, Drama, and Art

Langer, L. L. [Ed.]. (1995). Art from the ashes: a Holocaust anthology. New York: Oxford University Press. [D804.3 .A78 1995]

A broad collection of personal narratives and literary works.

Literary Criticism and Historiography

Hartman, G. (Ed.). (1994). Holocaust remembrance: The shapes of memory. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. [D804.3.H6494 1994]

Hartman, Geoffrey H. (1996). The longest shadow: In the aftermath of the Holocaust. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. [D804.3 .H359 1996]

The essays in this volume included two which were originally delivered at Indiana University as the 1994 Helen and Martin Schwartz Lectures in Judaic Studies under the titles: "Learning from Survivors" and "Reading the Wound: Holocaust Testimony, Art and Trauma".

Young, J. E. (1990). Writing and rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the consequences of interpretation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. [ D810.J4 Y58 1990]

Examines the relationship of historiography in a postmodern context and the use of personal narrartives in understanding the Holocaust.

Psychological Studies

Funkenstein, A. (1993). The incomprehensible catastrophe: Memory and narrative. In A. Lieblich & Ruthellen Josselson, (Eds.), The narrative study of lives. Vol. 1. The narrative study of lives (pp. 21-29). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Langer, L. L. (1991). Holocaust testimonies: The ruins of memory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Extremely important volume examining the problem of memory from the perspective of holocaust survivors.

Monroe, K. R., & Epperson, C. (1994). "But what else could I do?" Choice, identity and a cognitive-perceptual theory of ethical political behavior. Political Psychology, 15, 201-226.

Employing personal narratives and descriptions of rescuers (those who helped Jews in World War II) and non-rescuers, this paper proposes a cognitive-perceptual theory of ethical behavior, grounded in the actor's perception of self vis-a-vis others, which differs from more traditional theories of political behavior or developmental psychology.

Sadavoy, J. (1997). Survivors: A review of late-life effects of prior psychological trauma. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 5, 287-301.

Philosophy and Theology

Berenbaum, M. (1979). The vision of the void: Theological reflection on the works of Elie Wiesel. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. [PQ2683.I32 Z58 1979]

Dietrich, D. J. (1995). God and humanity in Auschwitz: Jewish-Christian relations and sanctioned murder. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Fackenheim, E. L. (1972). God's presence in history: Jewish affirmations and philosophical reflections. New York: Harper & Row.

Fackenheim, E. L. (1982). To mend the world: Foundations of future Jewish thought. New York: Schocken Books.

Fackenheim, E. L. (1990). The Jewish bible after the Holocaust: A re-reading. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Fasching, D. J. (1992). Narrative theology after Auschwitz: From alienation to ethics. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Press. [BT93 .F37 1992]

Jacobs, S. L. (1994). Rethinking Jewish faith: The child of a survivor responds. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Morgan, M. L. (Ed.). (1987). The Jewish thought of Emil Fackenheim: A reader. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Roth, J. K., & Berenbaum, M. (Eds.). (1989). Holocaust: Religious and philosophical implications. New York: Paragon House.

Rubenstein, B. R., & Berenbaum, M. (Eds.). (1995). What kind of God? Essays in honor of Richard L. Rubenstein. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Schussler-Fiorenza, E., & Tracy, D. (Eds.). (1984). The Holocaust as interruption (Concilium, 175). Glen Rock, NJ: Concilium.

Steele, M. R. (1995). Christianity, tragedy, and Holocaust literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Various/Other Perspectives

Langer, L. L. (1995). Admitting the Holocaust: Collected essays. New York: Oxford University Press. [ D804.3 .L358 1995]

Laub, D. (1991). Truth and testimony: The process and the struggle. American Imago, 48, 75-91.

The author, a child survivor, reflects upon the ways of witnessing to the truth of the Holocaust, the effects upon survivors of "telling" or "not telling" their stories, and of the role of the Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale in responding to the needs of survivors and history.

Shandler, J. (1994). "This Is Your Life": Telling a Holocaust survivor's life story on early American television. Special Issue: Narrativization of the news. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 4, 41-68.

Hanna Bloch Kohner was featurned on a 1953 episode of the series This Is Your Life. This article traces the ways in which her story was told and traces the relationship between American TV and how the Holocaust, particularly the stories of individual survivors, was presented in the post-World War II period.

Genocide Studies

As the world has come to witness throughout the twentieth century, genocidal horrors have been perpertrated in various nations at various times. This small subsection will seek to become a repository for scholarly and historical works reflecting these experiences.

Gourevitch, P. (1998). We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda. New York: Farrar, Straus & Girooux.

The African nation of Rwanda was the scene of harrowing death to more than 500,000 in a terror inflicted by the Hutu people upon their co-nationalists, the Tutsi.

Hochschild, A. (1998). King Leopold's ghost: A story of greed, terror, and heroism in colonial Africa. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

In 1885 Leopold II, King of the Belgians, first gained control of the Congo as a personal fiefdom and exploited its riches and inhabitants ruthlessly until 1908 after which the Belgian government stepped in to become the colonial administration. The impact of Leopold's rule and that of his successors is described in this well-received and harrowing history as one of genocidal effect. By one estimate, half the population of the Congo or about 10 million people died in the first fifty years surrounding Belgian rule.

Smith, D. N. (1998). The psychocultural roots of genocide: Legitimacy and crisis in Rwanda. American Psychologist, 53, 743-753.



Film Resources


Note: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website maintains an annotated videography (.pdf file) of materials related to the Holocaust.

Lanzmann, C. (Director) and Ziva Postec (Editor.). (1985). Shoah [Film]. (Available from Paramount Video, Hollywood, CA; a New Yorker Films Release, New York, NY)

This 570-minute set of interviews (mainly in French with subtitles) permits both concentration-camp survivors and various Nazi functionaries to tell their stories. See Bibliographical Resources above for text citation of film's interviews.

A helpful bibliography of commentary on this film has been prepared by Prof. Al Filreis at U Penn.

Spielberg, S. (Producer.). (1995). Survivors of the Holocaust [Film]. United States: Turner Home Entertainment.

A 70-minute film presented by Steven Spielberg in association with Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

PBS Online

There are a variety of PBS documentaries in its extraordinary Frontline series which have dealt with Holocaust and genocide issues. These have included:

PBS has also broadcast America and the Holocaust, a film in The American Experience series and one which has its own website, too.


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When citing this document, you may wish to consider this form for the reference (derived from APA Style [5th ed.])

Hevern, V. W. (2003, May). Shoah (the Holocaust) & Genocide Studies; Crimes Against Humanity. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. Retrieved [enter date] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

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is copyright © 1996-2003 by Vincent W. Hevern, SJ, all rights reserved.

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