Book Launch: Matters of Testimony: Interpreting the Scrolls of Auschwitz

Leah  Sidebotham's picture
June 2, 2016
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, German History / Studies, European History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Modern European History / Studies

In 1944, members of the Sonderkommando—the “special squads,” composed almost exclusively of Jewish prisoners, who ensured the smooth operation of the gas chambers and had firsthand knowledge of the extermination process—buried on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau a series of remarkable eyewitness accounts of Nazi genocide. This careful and penetrating study examines anew these "Scrolls of Auschwitz,” which were gradually recovered, in damaged and fragmentary form, in the years following the camp’s liberation. It painstakingly reconstructs their historical context and textual content, revealing complex literary works that resist narrow moral judgment and engage difficult questions about the limits of testimony.

Nicholas Chare is Associate Professor of Art History at the Université de Montréal. He is the author of Auschwitz and Afterimages: Abjection, Witnessing and Representation and After Francis Bacon: Synaesthesia and Sex in Paint, and the co-editor, with Dominic Williams, of Representing Auschwitz: At the Margins of Testimony.

Dominic Williams is Montague Burton Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Leeds. He has published articles on modernism, the First World War, contemporary poetry and the Holocaust. In addition to co-editing Representing Auschwitz, he has co-edited, with Fabio A. Durão, Modernist Group Dynamics: The Politics and Poetics of Friendship.

The event will consist of a brief talk from Dominic Williams, followed by a round-table discussion and then a reception.


  • Anne Karpf Reader in Professional Writing and Cultural Inquiry, London Metropolitan University. 
  • Dan Stone Professor of Modern History, Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • Zoe Waxman Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.


Location: The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DP

Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited. To book tickets please visit our website at

Contact Info: 
The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
29 Russell Square
+44 (0) 20 7636 7247
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