Prof. Dori Laub (1937-2018), a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, initiated the first testimony video project at Yale University, which allowed thousands of Holocaust survivors to present their testimonies to an interviewer with a camera. Laub became a world-renowned trauma expert, who developed and taught the empathic interview approach which includes rehabilitative elements, placing the responsibility for the testimony on the interviewers who are expected to assist the survivors in their painful journey into their own memory. He also created the ethical guidelines for the Holocaust testimony interview. As part of the project presented here, taking place in an Israeli College of Education, Jewish and Palestinian Communication Studies students, watch, analyze and evaluate the testimonies. They learn the interview method and testimony documentation carried out by Dori Laub with Holocaust survivors and study his ethical and empathic approach to the testimony interview. At the end of the process the students document stories from their own Israeli communities, both Jewish and Palestinian. These testimonies reflect different points of view regarding the way people deal with controversial social and historical events, creating a class encounter with the suffering and struggle of ‘others’, as well as a personal discourse in the shadow of opposing political narratives. The present study analyzes the learning process analysis of: (a) filming of the course (given three times); (b) students’ written reflections regarding the process they had undergone; (c) 35 filmed testimony videos documenting personal and family traumas produced by the students at the end of the course. The course participants testified to the ability of the personal testimonies to break through the barriers of confrontation, symbols and prejudices, and allow recognition and empathy to the pain and suffering of others, particularly among groups and communities who are politically and historically hostile to each other.
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