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The Historical UncannyDisability, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Holocaust Memory$
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Susanne C. Knittel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262786

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262786.001.0001

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Bridging the Silence, Part II

Bridging the Silence, Part II

The Vicarious Witness

(p.106) Chapter Three Bridging the Silence, Part II
The Historical Uncanny

Susanne C. Knittel

Fordham University Press

Chapter 3 focuses on a set of more hybrid texts, which present a significant change in the literary depictions of Nazi euthanasia and its memory, as they not only focus on the life stories of actual victims but also participate in discussions about contemporary issues such as mercy killing and genetic engineering and the status of people with mental disabilities in society today. In order to recover the life stories of these victims, authors such as Hans Ulrich Dapp, Helga Schubert, and Hellmut Haasis incorporate elements of documentary, (auto)biography, and fiction, taking on the role of a “vicarious witness,” giving voice to these silent and silenced victims. Vicarious witnessing offers an alternative to the stereotypical or dehumanizing representations of disability that so often stand in the way of a genuine or appropriate commemoration of these victims.

Keywords:   Vicarious witnessing, Literature, Representation, Hybridity, Documentary, Autobiography, Euthanasia

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