Breaking the Silence: A Testimonial of Resistance to Jewish Invisibility in Simone Veil’s Une jeunesse au temps de la Shoah
Keywords:testimonial, self, invisibility, suffering
Simone Veil had a remarkable career as a public figure in France, but her personal life was shrouded in profound trauma as a victim of the Holocaust. Veil’s autobiographical narrative reveals a unique form of testimonial writing in which she uses her agency, as a survivor, to demonstrate resistance to Jewish absence and ‘otherness’. As will be shown, a close study of the writer’s autobiography reveals a multilayered text in which the author acts as a spokeswoman for the victims to impart global awareness of the Shoah, especially to young people. This essay will focus on the pedagogical objective of Veil’s memoir, the impossibility of conveying unimaginable suffering, and the power of feminine solidarity as a survival strategy. The latter part of the analysis will broaden the perspective, with emphasis on how writing a testimonial narrative serves as a way in which the autobiographer can recover the shattered self.
Copyright (c) 2021 Nancy M. Arenberg
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