Writing Auschwitz: Testimony, Representation and Prose in the Work of Charlotte Delbo, Primo Levi and Holocaust Writers

In collaboration with the Group for War and Culture Studies, University of Westminster and with the support of the French Institute

Event Information and Booking

18th March, 2013
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
French Institute, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT
Professor Susan Derwin, University of California; Professor Robert Gordon, University of Cambridge; Dr Paul Gradvohl, University of Warsaw

‘This is how it all happened and never do I invent.’ Charlotte Delbo (1913-1985) used this quote from Jean Giraudoux’s Electre as an epigraph to her book Le Convoi du 24 janvier, where she presents short biographies of the 230 women deported with her to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This conference, organized in the centenary of Charlotte Delbo’s birth, aims to highlight the contribution that Delbo and other survivors, including Primo Levi, Jorge Semprun and Jean Amery made to Holocaust testimonial writing. What is the importance of gender in Holocaust testimony? How have French women and French resisters contributed to Holocaust writing and representation? What is the legacy of the writings of Levi, Semprun, Amery and others? And are poetry, fiction and theatre more effective than memoirs as prisms of transmission and understanding of the Nazi camp experience?

The conference will conclude with a performance of extracts from Delbo’s prose by the theatre group, Nomad.

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