Selma Leydesdorff on the interviews
Prof.dr. Selma Leydesdorff says the following about the small comments in the margin of a number of the interviews: "Historiography and remembrance cannot exist one without the other, but they are not the same. Certain histories can only be written by means of remembrance, and memories can serve to rectify historical images. It was my task as an historian not only to "go with the memories," but also to observe a critical distance on the basis on my knowledge. This is what these short fragments are about. If you remember, you know your little corner of the world. Whoever has read books on the objects of these recollections and researched them, will be aware of this. This does not devaluate memories; on the contrary, they get the place they deserve.
But of course this is not all there is to be said. Being who I am, being involved in the subject - the murders in Sobibor, where direct relatives of mine were killed as well - I understand the horrendous trauma. By showing that I enabled some of the unterviewees to talk about issues thay had never talked about before. It was my task to manage the interview in such a way that others would also understand why it was possible now. My solidarity made it clear that I would never ever convict victims for anything that could have happened to them under extreme circumstances. Every human being must survive mentally and physically.
At the same time the historian asks questions and can be helped to remember. Sometimes referring to a street, a bridge, a village may help."