Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

January 1998

Publication Source

Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory Through the Camera's Eye

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Using images to bear witness to atrocity required a different type of representation than did words. Images helped record the horror in memory after its concrete signs had disappeared, aud they did so in a way that told a larger story of Nazi atrocity. As the U.S. trade journal Editor and Publisher proclaimed, "the peoples of Europe, long subjected to floods of propaganda, no longer believe the written word. Only factual photographs will be accepted."

While words produced a concrete and grounded chronicle of the camps' liberation, photographs were so instrumental to the broader aim of enlightening the world about Nazi actions that when Eisenhower proclaimed "let the world see," he implicitly called upon photography's aura of realism to help accomplish that aim. Through its dual function as carrier of truth-value and symbol, photography thus helped the world bear witness by providing a context for events at the same time as it displayed them.



Date Posted: 07 March 2008