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Paul Steinbergs Speak You Also against Primo Levis rendition of Henri in Survival in Auschwitz - Essay Example

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Perhaps there is no other word that carries with it such a plenitude of prevarications as the term 'Holocaust'. Even though the term now signifies the mass murder of the Jews by Hitler in what was euphemistically called die Endlosing or the Final Solution, the Hebrew word shoah was also in currency for some time…
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Paul Steinbergs Speak You Also against Primo Levis rendition of Henri in Survival in Auschwitz
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"Paul Steinbergs Speak You Also against Primo Levis rendition of Henri in Survival in Auschwitz"

Download file to see previous pages Such connotations make 'Holocaust' a problematic term for the devastation it names. The word's religious implications seem inappropriate, even repulsive, to many people, including many Jews. It is quite surprising that Holocaust still remains the most widely used term for the horrendous crimes committed on a race in an attempt to uproot it from the face of the earth.
The philosopher Emile Fackenheim has pointed out that the Holocaust offers a unique challenge of comprehensibility. He says that the Holocaust was not a war because the victims had no power and were a threat to the Third Reich only in the Nazi mind. It was a war not directed by passions but conceived by a plan and executed with methodical care and stripped of all passion. The Holocaust was not a war crime because it was not based on any ideology but the 'ideal' of punishing the Jews for their crime, the 'crime of existence'. The punishment was for 'being' and not for 'doing'. Fackenheim says that the "Holocaust is not a parochial event. It is world-historical." There were many countries which welcomed, at least clandestinely, the policies of Hitler towards immigrants. Thus the philosopher in his foreword to Yehuda Bauer's The Jewish Emergence from Powerlessness (Toronto, University Press, 1979) lists how this eminently forgettable event continues to haunt a diffident mankind.
How did the Holocaust happen an...
e 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, has rightly said of Birkenau, one of the major killing ares of Auschwitz: "Traditional ideas and acquired values, philosophical systems and social theories - all must be revised in the shadow of Birkenau." This observation is startlingly true. Holocaust was a state-sponsored program of population elimination made possible by modern technology and political will. As Nazi Germany became a genocidal state, its anti-Semitic racism required a destructive process that needed and got the cooperation of every sector of the German society. In a brief but telling note of the ramifications of racism in the then German society, John K.Roth who has edited International Encyclopedia of Ethics writes:
Government and church personnel provided birth records to document who was Jewish and who was not. University administrators curtailed admission for Jewish students and dismissed Jewish faculty members. Bureaucrats in the Finance Ministry confiscated Jewish wealth and property. Postal officials delivered mail about definition and expropriation, denaturalization and deportation. Driven by their biomedical vision, physicians were mong the first to experiment with the gassing of 'lives unmorthy of life'. Business executives found that the Nazi concentration camps could provide cheap labour; they worked people to death, turning the Nazi motto. Stockholders made profits from firms that supplied Zyklon B to gas people and from companies that built crematoria to bury the corpses(388).
Thus the name and nature of Holocaust created a cataclysmic shift and displacement of sensibility that seldom occurred in the history of mankind, let alone in art and literature.
One of the most vivid descriptions of this scenario comes from George Steiner. "(The Germa ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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