A project sponsored by the Australian Centre for the Study of Jewish Civilisation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany
The Holocaust Autobiographies Catalogue is a database of over 180 memoirs that have been written by survivors of the Holocaust and published in Australia. These books have been written by people from different countries and different communities. They describe events from varied perspectives: some of the writers were very young during the years of the Second World War; others were more mature. Some survived by going into hiding, whilst others endured the tortures of Nazi concentration camps. The writing styles also vary. Some of the books in the database were written by accomplished writers; others were written by people who would not have chosen to write at all were it not for a compelling sense of duty to tell their stories.
The database contains detailed information about each book. In addition to bibliographical details (author, title, publisher, place and year of publication), the database also lists a book’s location, where possible. The database has been created in parallel with a collection of memoirs located in the Rare Books Collection of the Sir Louis Matheson Library of Monash University. If that collection or any of the Monash University libraries has the book, then that is listed as its location. Otherwise, an alternative library is listed. There is also a summary of each book, as well as a list of camps, towns and cities mentioned.
There are two ways to make use of the catalogue. The first is to browse, using the Index. The user can browse either by author or by title, and view the detailed entries for each book. The second way is to make use of the Search. A user looking for books that mention particular places, people, events, and so on can enter these details into the search, which will direct them to the relevant books. The Advanced Search allows the user to search particular fields of the database; for example, one can search the ‘Cities, Towns and Camps’ field for a particular place, and the search will return a list of books in which that place is mentioned.
Finally, a brief word about the criteria for inclusion in the database. All of the books in the database were written by first-generation Holocaust survivors; that is, the authors are people who have written about their own experiences rather than those of parents or grandparents. The books are all written by Jews who came under the Nazi sphere of influence at some stage during or immediately before World War II. All of the books were published in Australia, though a few of the authors do reside overseas.
It should also be mentioned that the database is at this stage still incomplete. As such, some books do not yet have summaries or full details. (Currently more than 110 summaries are online)
# Concept: Andrew Markus – Prepared by: Daniel Bloom, Adrian Sackson and Margaret Taft, with the assistance of students enrolled in the subject ‘The Holocaust’ at Monash University
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