I was reading an article about Elie Wiesel's memoir( novel ? ), Night. It argues that his memoir( novel ? ), was falsified. His response was that it was "his ___".

The underlined is a word that when I searched up, was something along the lines of 'submission of evidence'. I cannot research, or trace my tracks, to find the word. Any help is welcomed.

Additionally, if anyone can help me clarify the genre (memoir or novel) of this, it would be good. I am hesitant to classify it as "novel" in my essay, as it could possibly be taken the wrong way as in holocaust-denying wrong way.

I have come to be a bit more emotionally vested into finding this word than I'd anticipated (1:58 AM and still looking, argh)


  • 1
    He might have said it was his testimony (or with a bit more "gravitas" and religious connotations, his testament). Jan 23, 2015 at 15:17
  • Or it could have been anything else, including any suitable metaphor involving books, memories, defeats, whatever. I think this question may be too broad, however specific it seems to be.
    – Robusto
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:19
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    @Robusto - Too broad? How so? The OP asked what the missing word was that was contained in a specific statement by Wiesel. It was not a request for speculations about what a suitable word might be.
    – Erik Kowal
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:25
  • @ErikKowal: Yet speculation is precisely what, to judge from some of the answers below, it seems to have solicited.
    – Robusto
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:38
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    @Robusto - But that is not the fault of the OP. There is only one right answer; the other suggestions were made by people who apparently had not researched this particular utterance of Wiesel's and/or who decided to post an alternative possibility despite the correct answer already having been given. (I think such an impulse could still be useful to some future enquirer looking for synonyms for 'deposition'.)
    – Erik Kowal
    Jan 23, 2015 at 15:44

4 Answers 4


The Wikipedia page which discusses the book states:

He has called it his deposition, but scholars have had difficulty approaching it as an unvarnished account.

As for the genre, memoir is appropriate if the work is taken at face value.

If the work has partly been made up, Wiesel could be said to have reimagined the events described in it. I'm not sure there is a generic descriptor for such accounts, though fake memoir or even fake autobiography spring to mind.

  • Eureka! That was the word. Jan 23, 2015 at 15:20

You are perhaps looking for Deposition.

Law: The process of giving sworn evidence: the deposition of four expert witnesses

Law: A formal, usually written, statement to be used as evidence.


The Wikipedia page for Night has a subsection titled "Memoir or Novel." The first paragraph of this section states:

Wiesel called Night his deposition. Reviewers have nevertheless had difficulty reading it as an eyewitness account. It has been called a novel, autobiography, autobiographical novel, non-fictional novel, semi-fictional memoir, fictional-autobiographical novel, fictionalized autobiographical memoir and memoir-novel. Ellen Fine calls it témoignage (testimony). Lawrence Langer writes that the book is "ballasted with the freight of fiction: scenic organization, characterization through dialogue, periodic climaxes, elimination of superfluous or repetitive episodes ..."

As others have pointed out, calling it a deposition shows that Wiesel presents the information as true. Testimony means much the same thing and has a similar legal connotation.

The other terms suggested in the above quote would work as well. Since you hesitate to call it a memoir, but don't want to write it off completely as a novel, I think autobiographical novel or semi-fictional memoir work best to describe its standing as "based on fact but not 100% true."


While I cannot speak to the term used in the article, consider proffer. Both a verb and a noun, its common meaning is

Hold out (something) to someone for acceptance; offer Oxford Dictionaries Online

It is also used in law. One of its meanings in that context is

to offer evidence in a trial. law.com

The term bear witness is also often used for the process of testifying, even in a non-legal context, to things that have occurred or must be acknowledged. See examples in Collins

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