In 1986, having been married to me only one year, my wife was casting about for an interesting birthday present. She wandered into a coin shop and found a case of coins from antiquity. She already knew me well enough to know that I would be fascinated by them. The owner didn’t know much about the coins, only that they were from Rome, and he was pretty sure that one of them dated from the time of Christ. That’s the one my wife bought.She was absolutely right about my reaction to this gift—I fell in love with this coin the minute I saw it. I couldn’t believe that I was holding something so old in my hands.
Lawrence Langer explains in Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory that written accounts of life in the Nazi concentration camps often seek to integrate the Holocaust experience into a larger structure of meaning.