From the Lone Survivor to the Networked Self

Social Networks Meet the Digital Holocaust Archive

Although concentration camps constituted a densely populated social world, historians still largely approach them as being composed of isolated individuals. This interpretative premise is sustained by the inherent linear organization of most audiovisual archives and the prominence of the individual survivor testimony as their organizing unit. However, taking the social relation rather than the individual and his/her testimony as the organizing principle of a rethought digital Holocaust archive leads to a more historically faithful understanding of the Holocaust survivor as a networked self. A pilot digital reconstruction of social networks of Jewish Holocaust survivors from the Greek city of Salonica/Thessaloniki demonstrates how the linear digital audiovisual archive can support the digital documentation of the multiple forms and structures of relatedness, thus helping historians better understand how Holocaust survivors managed to reconstruct a social universe in the camps and navigate within it under extremely adverse circumstances.

issue 13 / August 2018 by Paris Papamichos Chronakis