2020 | 4 | 2 | 102-113
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Testimony of Death: From Extermination Camps to Clinical Practice: A Discussion with Winnicott, Blanchot and Derrida

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Is there any witness to death? As detailed by Jacques Derrida, any testimony is detached from the direct perception of the event it reports. Thus, a testimony may report one’s encounter with death, not only with the death of the other, but also with one’s own death, even though it can never by experienced as such. In particular, reports from “survivors” ought to be taken un-metaphorically as they confront us with what Maurice Blanchot related as “the encounter of death with death.” In line with such testimonies, Donald Woods Winnicott helps us here in considering an “anterior death,” a death that already happened without being experienced as such and which may haunt the subject until it remembers it. But how may one remember a past that has never been present? And how may one remember death without dying? In dialogue with Maurice Blanchot, we are guided toward a manner of considering silence as an oblivious remembrance of that which can be brought back from death.

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