As opposed to this excremental assault and radical nakedness, the survivor was the one who resisted by - first of all - washing! The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps. Both in your ideas about the Holocaust and your ideas about reality in general. While at Harvard University he served as a Harvard Junior Fellow and met, and became close friends with, John Nathan, who is currently the Takashima Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. We resent their absolute moral authority. Presents a series of 17 chapters, each illuminating a particular event or aspect of life in the camps that show the daily Nazi assault on humanity through large and small acts of cruelty. While not everyone who fought for their lives survived, anyone who didn't was certain to die. Discusses general conditions in the camp, with particular notice of the medical consequences of daily life.
Typhus and dysentery were endured by all. At Colgate University, Des Pres taught Literature of the Holocaust and held the William Henry Crawshaw Chair in Literature. I Did Not Interview the Dead. And, from the perspective of understanding genocidal efforts in history, survivors represent our most significant witnesses, the ones who truly bear witness to events of massive importance. But by the end of it you can't help but look at things a little bit differently.
A project of JewishGen, a major Jewish genealogy Web site. The author examines the camp experience. Such fixed activities included forms of social bonding and interchange, on collective resistance, and, in some cases, the most important hinged on keeping dignity and a moral sense. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Includes numerous illustrations, a glossary, bibliography, and an index.
I have a hard time categorizing this book, and its very resistance to standard academic pigeon-holes may explain its relative obscurity. And this is the motivation shared by almost all of our Holocaust survivors - to live to be the canary in the mine - to warn us all of what the human spirit is capable of, and where lies the danger. I found Des Pres's use of the death camp experience to illustrate his theories of what man is truly capable of to be a backdrop. The author wants his readers to have a clearer understanding of how a single person, or a group of people, responds to cruelty against their person and their honor. Although Des Pres does include plenty of extracts from the accounts of survivors, he is more interested in analysing their testaments and distilling the message they carry for us all in the society outside. Detailed description of the essential elements of character needed to survive murderous prisons, mainly the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet Gulag. Discusses the construction, arrangement, and facilities of the housing blocks, clothing and clothing regulations, and the food rations that prisoners received.
Describes the way prisoners wielded power over each other, and how some prisoners held on to their humanity in the face of degradation and dehumanization. An intriguing look into the inner workings of the death camps. He draws from many different areas, including fiction, survivor testimony, and even tacks on a bit of scientific study. And perhaps it is the only backdrop he could have used as he writes eloquently about in extremis conditions and those horrific experiences left a trove of written witness material behind. Instead, one gets an almost Sigmund Freud vibe. Nevertheless, The Survivor may surprise some readers with the style of writing. Intended for young adult readers.
If you do read this one, I would suggest interweaving its chapters with some writings by Primo Levi, especially his books of meditations called Moments of Reprieve and The Drowned and the Saved. The most powerful book I have ever read on the Holocaust. Author was a bit heavy handed explaining the communist triumph of the survivors; only groups survived; individual effort was suicidal; politicos were first in line for best clothes, food; God was declared guilty of Nazi atrocities. Describes administrative and office work, the laundry detail, mending, tailoring, cleaning, and work in a grain warehouse. These are only a few among the many lessons that Des Pres finds in reviewing the literature of, and about, survivors in his time. The author is concerned with survival.
It is not meant to be exhaustive. The source of each statement in the book is easily identified by a numerical index of witnesses. Or perhaps we should say attempting to wash. Asserts that memory of prewar life was a powerful tool in surviving the dehumanizing aspects of the camps, by allowing prisoners to maintain some sense of personal identity that the Nazis could not steal. And he shows himself to be a deep philosophical thinker with some challenging ideas in the process. Des Pres gives a new and important meaning to the word 'courage.
It is a very important study of early Holocaust literature to attempt to understand the personal psychology and behavior of survivors. New York : Fawcett Crest, 1961. An intriguing look into the inner workings of the death camps. The book profoundly changed me, as it has others. Human Behaviour in the Concentration Camp. Originally published in German under the title Menschen in Auschwitz. But the assumption that there was no moral or social order in the camps is wrong.