In 1946, a Russian-born American psychologist named David P. Boder toured displaced-persons camps throughout Western Europe, interviewing victims of the Nazi terror, most of them Jews. His published reports were not widely circulated, writes editor Donald Niewyk, and in any event few people wanted to talk or hear about the Holocaust so soon after it had ended. With the passage of half a century and the passing of the generation of Shoah, Boder's reports, collected in Fresh Wounds
, stand as valuable documents in the world's memory. His interviewees talk about their years in slavery, of disease and death, and of the daily work of living with their Nazi captors. Many of the interviewees went on to live in the United States, and in Israel, where they founded kibbutzim.
In 1946 psychologist David Boder interviewed 109 Holocaust survivors in displaced-persons camps in Europe. Fresh Wounds
presents 36 of these interviews, which had been stored in the Library of Congress. Boder, a Russian Jew, taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and died in 1961. His taped interviews involved survivors from Poland (23), Lithuania (1), Germany (5), France (3), Slovakia (2), and Hungary (2). They tell of brutal roundups of the Jews, daily torment in slave labor and concentration camps, hiding to evade deportations, bold escapes, revolts and uprisings, Nazi manipulation of the Jews' psychological vulnerability, mass shootings, exploitation, the barter economy and social life in the ghettos, and painful separation from loved ones. Niewyk, a writer and history professor, has written an informative introduction, explaining his editing objectives and offering a broad overview of the Holocaust, fitting the interviews into the big picture. Fresh Wounds
reveals the victims' devastating experiences of pain, loss, and humiliation with compelling authenticity. George ^ICohen