Rokhl Oyerbakh: The Bridge Between Wartime and Postwar Testimony
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Center Director Avinoam Patt and affiliated faculty member Samuel Kassow will be participating in an upcoming conference at Yale University hosted by the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University Library.
This November, the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies will host the first ever international symposium dedicated to the legacy of writer, historian, and documentarian Rokhl Oyerbakh (Rachel Auerbach).
Rokhl Oyerbakh was a writer, essayist and a member of the Oyneg Shabes underground documentation project in the Warsaw Ghetto. As one of the only survivors of Oyneg Shabes, she helped recover the buried documentation after the war before emigrating to Israel. As a survivor-historian, Oyerbakh’s work to document first-person accounts of victims’ experiences continued after the war as Director of Yad Vashem’s Department for the Collection of Witness Testimony. She was responsible for curating survivor testimony for the Eichmann trial, and she played a prominent role as a survivor-advocate in the controversy surrounding Jean-François Steiner’s book Treblinka. These are but a few facets of Oyerbakh’s important contributions to our understanding of the survivor experience, and the history of the Holocaust.
Hosted by the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University Library, with keynote speaker Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History, Trinity College
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, no registration required
- Leora Bilsky, Professor at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, and Director of the Minerva Center for Human Rights, Tel Aviv University, Israel
- Dr. Boaz Cohen, Western Galilee College, Akko, Israel
- Havi Dreifuss, Professor in Jewish history, Tel Aviv University, Israel
- Glenn Dynner, Chair of Religion Department, Sarah Lawrence College
- Professor Dr. Efrat Gal-ed, Institut für Jüdische Studien, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany
- Laura Jockusch, Albert Abramson Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University
- Dr. Lisa M. Leff, Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University
- Avinoam Patt, Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut
- Sharon Pucker Rivo, Executive Director, National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University
- Sven-Erik Rose, Professor of German and of Comparative Literature, University of California, Davis
- David Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Chair in Yiddish Literature and Culture, Professor of Jewish literature, Jewish Theological Seminary
- Karolina Szymaniak, Assistant Professor at the Department of Jewish Studies, University of Wrocław, Poland
In 1979, the Holocaust Survivors Film Project began collecting video-taped interviews of Holocaust survivors in the New Haven area. In 1981, the collection was donated to Yale University and The Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, part of the Yale University Library, opened its doors to the public the following year. The Fortunoff Archive has been working to record, collect and preserve Holocaust witness testimonies — and facilitate the work of researchers, educators and the general public — ever since.
The Fortunoff Archive currently holds more than 4,400 testimonies, which are comprised of over 12,000 recorded hours of videotape. Testimonies were produced in cooperation with thirty-six affiliated projects across North America, South America, Europe, and Israel, and each project maintains a duplicate collection of locally recorded videotapes. The Fortunoff Archive and its affiliates recorded the testimonies of willing individuals with first-hand experience of the Nazi persecutions, including those who were in hiding, survivors, bystanders, resistants, and liberators.
Testimonies were recorded in the language the witness preferred, and range in length from 30 minutes to over 40 hours (recorded over several sessions).