Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich and Jacek Partyka
The Feelings of Survivors of the First Deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto
The aim of this article is to analyse the feelings of people who survived the first wave of deportations from the Warsaw ghetto in the summer of 1942, whose close relatives (parents, wives and husbands, children) were deported. I want to focus particularly on how people perceived themselves in relation to their family members who were deported to the Treblinka death camp, and how they judged themselves. The following analysis will focus on the feelings of shame and guilt that some of the authors mention in accounts. How did they describe those emotions? Why did they feel ashamed and guilty?
Sources and methods used
The sources used in the analysis presented in this paper are diaries and memoirs about the Warsaw ghetto that were written during the war or soon after the war. Some of the materials used remain unpublished. When using personal documents the issue of representation must be addressed. I want to stress that it is difficult to obtain an ‘adequate representation’ and to generalize the conclusions resulting from the analysis of a small sample of examples. Personal documents (accounts, diaries) are always produced in a certain social context, so the question of who was writing and why must be posed. We should keep in mind that members of the middle and upper classes are more inclined to write and produce personal documents in general, while the lower classes sometimes lack the social and cultural capital (i.e. time, energy or fluency in...
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