Survive, remember, narrate – Jo Wajsblat’s (auto)biography Cover Image

Przeżyć, pamiętać, przekazać – o (auto)biografii Jo Wajsblata
Survive, remember, narrate – Jo Wajsblat’s (auto)biography

Author(s): Anna Ciarkowska
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Fundacja Pro Scientia Publica
Keywords: Holocaust; Wajsblat; autobiography; testimony; trauma

Summary/Abstract: Jo Wasblat, a prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau, was 15 when he was rescued from the gas chambers. Saved by a miracle, he didn’t speak about his traumatic history for the next 50 years. Aft er this long period he decided to give testimony, and wrote an autobiographical account Unexpected witness (Le témoin imprévu) in collaboration with Gilles Lambert, a journalist. After five decades of silence, writing was a very tough task due to gaps in memory, distrust and, most of all, the necessity to return to painful memories. This process of re-working his trauma has a profound infl uence on the text. Its construction is far diff erent from most Shoah testimonies because it uses mostly third-person narrative, rare in personal documents. This specifi c perspective allows us to call this text an (auto)biography – a biography of “myself” where Wajsblat tells a story about himself using a voice of the “Other”. In this specifi c way the author faces his own history and tries to make the “unbelievable” story believable.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 154-163
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Polish