‘And What Happened Next?’: Emotions and Sexual Violence in Holocaust Interviews

Annabelle Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper considers the testimonies of four female
survivors of sexual violence who gave interviews to
the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History
Archive. For the survivor, talking about this experience
(sometimes for the frst time since the war) is often one
of great emotion and trauma. These women relive
their experiences of sexual assault while giving their
memories voice, motivated by the desire to put their
stories ‘on the record’. In this paper, I focus on four
interviews with women survivors and explore ‘what
happens next’ when traumatic memories are shared. I
consider how emotions from the event are present in
the interview, the inevitable intertwining of memories
of sexual violence and those of other traumatic
Holocaust events, as well as the way the interview
space, and interviewer/interviewee interactions within
the interview, affect how emotion is expressed and
what emotions are experienced. I also consider ethical
implications for how oral historians can use these kinds
of diffcult interviews, particularly when accessing an
existing archive of interviews.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages11
JournalStudies in Oral History
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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