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Author’s Notes

Author’s Notes

As one can imagine, there is a vast network of websites, books, and databases that is concerned with the collection of primary sources from World War II. This website is by no means inclusive, yet I attempt to provide you with a variety of sources that help to depict a full picture of trauma: stories from all sides of the conflict. Here, I explain the reasoning behind each of my choices, specifically referring to concepts and overarching themes that were addressed in my seminar.

Note: If you are interested in reading more personal accounts, please refer to the Further Reading page!

General Notes

The Research Process

I approached this project with a very different aim than that which became the final result. I first intended this site to be truly comparative. I wanted to find victims of both regimes of equally traumatic experiences, and perpetrators—Italian and German officials—who lamented their past actions. I soon came to realize that this goal was incredibly naïve, for it lacked the objectivity of a true research project. I therefore altered my mission to include broader searches that let each of the victims speak for themselves, and chose each of the memoirs based on their varied experiences and their pertinence to the theoretical texts we read in my seminar.

Research began without any noticeable hiccups. I began the project by researching what I felt to be the area with the most overwhelming amount of sources: the subject of victims of the Nazi Regime and the Holocaust. As expected, the amount of narrative was indeed tremendous. First-hand accounts were to be found in numerous databases and memorial sites all over the internet, ranging from a national (and international) to personal scope.

Finding sources from German soldiers was slightly more difficult, but by no means impossible. Celebrated poet Günter Eich describes through verse his trials of war; his poem, “Inventory,” is one of the most famous German war poems from World War II. [1] The letter from the infamous Rudolf Höss, Commandant of the Auschwitz camp, was also not difficult to find; once, of course, I had discovered through extensive research that such a letter existed!

On the contrary, research about the victims, civilians, and perpetrators of the Italian Fascist regime was extremely difficult. Very few first-hand accounts exist, and fewer still that were translated to English. Conducting numerous searches on both the internet and within my library network yielded few results.

The research of personal accounts was certainly the most challenging part of this project. I spent an estimated 30 hours on research alone, not including the time allotted for translation.


[1] “Günter Eich.” Voices of Education. Web. 30 Apr. 2011.

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