Author:Carole Lemee (Université Bordeaux & UMR 5319)
Paper short abstract:
The concept of “self-historical identity” created in my research with Holocaust survivors and descendants, aims to consider intimate social situations where tensions exist between lived experiences and collective timeless identities linked to the genocide, Jewish worlds, heritages and memories.
Paper long abstract:
This paper is focused on fieldwork conducted with Holocaust survivors and direct or collateral descendants (i.e., children, great-grandchildren, cousins, etc.) living in various countries. The aim is to consider how they deal respectively with the composition of a "self-historical identity", between private and public spaces of their life, and concerning each generation. Such processes concerning their own specific identity, in the way they have to grasp and assemble many aspects from their past and present social experiences, and with their multidimensional heritages, cultures and histories, in diachronic and synchronic perspectives. It occurs 70 years after the genocide, after the atomization of their kinship system through eradicative violence, often in post-migratory situations in or outside Europe. Survivors and descendants perceive specific identities through the prism of lived experiences including socio-historical and geographical contextualisation inside many regions or countries. These processes simultaneously take place in the aftermath of European upheavals such as the Cold War's end and the Soviet Union's collapse, and also in growing Internet-communications. While many survivors now speak more about what was formerly thought of as confidential details of their Holocaust experiences because they did not always correspond with the major representations built around the Victim's image, many descendants are in quest of cultural, social, and historical family roots in many European countries, developing online genealogical research, going to archives, and travelling to the soil of their ancestors therefore reconstituting their "self-historical identities".
Intimacy of social memory and the construction of self-identity linked to the Holocaust and forced migrations in the current interconnected world