Dispersed thoughts on egodocuments

Anne Frank - 80th birth anniversary

– Image by © ADE JOHNSON/epa/Corbis

What if the refugees of nowadays, whether from Syria or any part of the globe, keep diaries that could be used for historians in the near future to tell the story of their fleeing affliction over the so called “refugees crisis”? Would they have become iconic figures of their wars and suffering? Would they have got the right to own a house in new nation? Would they have been translated in other languages? Would people cry on their accounts? There would be movies and museums for them? Would they have earned a NAME?

Just some foolish questions while reading a text that recalls what the Amsterdam historian Jacques Presser* has written in 1947 about Anne Frank [and her diary]: she was a stateless refugee when she died. As well remarked in The Diaries of Anne Frank – Research – Translation – Critical Edition project description: Around the world, many children and teenagers have read and are still reading editions of Anne´s diaries—either at school or in private. In the biography of many readers, as well as in national commemorative cultures, the engagement with the war and the Holocaust began with the diary of Anne Frank. It became a symbol.
*Presser coined the controversial neologism of “egodocument”, which at that time, was the body of sources of main interest to him: autobiographies, diaries, letters…. “those documents in which an ego deliberately or accidentally discloses or hides itself”.

Ref.:

Dekker, Rudolf. ‘Jacques Presser’s Heritage: Egodocuments in the Study of History’, in Memoria y Civilización 5 (2002), pp. 13-37.
pdf

For more publications on egodocuments, see the Center for the Study of Egodocuments and History

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