In recent years, historians have offered controversial and sometimes contradictory accounts of why the Holocaust happened. Although these require careful attention, they often ignore the personal ordeals of individuals trapped by this inhuman episode. Since 1979, Yale University has videotaped testimonies from Holocaust survivors, a project that has led to an acclaimed documentary and to this extraordinary book. The book Witness: Voices from the Holocaust weaves a single and compelling narrative out of the first-person accounts of 27 witnesses, including Jews, non-Jews, American POWs, GIs who first entered the camps, a member of the Hitler youth, a Jesuit priest, resistance fighters, and child survivors. They tell stories of life under the Nazis, the ghettos, concentration and death camps, liberation, and the challenges they faced after the Holocaust.
The vivid and detailed memories of these witnesses testify to the continuing impact of their nightmarish past long after it was over. Their impassioned words lend immediacy to a catastrophic history. The stories we hear from these twenty-seven voices help to keep alive for present and future generations the unforgettable legacy of the event we call the Holocaust.