Trust in testimony: The institutional embeddedness of holocaust survivor narratives

Aaron Beim*, Gary Alan Fine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


What makes testimony trustworthy? Based on fieldwork at a Holocaust museum, we argue that testimonies are trustworthy that because they make implicit and explicit truth claims. We argue that confidence is formed by interdependent institutions that vouch for these claims, as well as institutions that produce other cultural objects with comparable meaning, such as museums and films. These claims of truth exist in the testimony act in itself, as well as in explicit claims of truth made by the testifiers. Holocaust testimonies make explicit truth claims through assertions of institutionally legitimated information, personal experiences, and societal remembrance. After considering the creation of trust in testimony, we discuss how it can be generalized to the courtroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-75
Number of pages21
JournalArchives Europeennes de Sociologie
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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