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The Sonderkommando of Auschwitz-Birkenau consisted primarily of Jewish prisoners forced by the Germans to facilitate the mass extermination. Though never involved in the killing itself, they were compelled to be "members of staff" of the Nazi death-factory. This book, translated for the first time into English from its original Hebrew, consists of interviews with the very few surviving men who witnessed at first hand the unparalleled horror of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Some of these men had never spoken of their experiences before. Over a period of years, Gideon Greif interviewed intensively all Sonderkommando survivors living in Israel. They describe not only the details of the German-Nazi killing program but also the moral and human challenges they faced. The book provides direct testimony about the "Final Solution of the Jewish Problem," but it is also a unique document on the boundless cruelty and deceit practiced by the Germans. It documents the helplessness and powerlessness of the one-and-a-half million people, 90 percent of them Jews, who were brutally murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In 1944, members of the Sonderkommando—the “special squads,” composed almost exclusively of Jewish prisoners, who ensured the smooth operation of the gas chambers and had firsthand knowledge of the extermination process—buried on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau a series of remarkable eyewitness accounts of Nazi genocide. This careful and penetrating study examines anew these “Scrolls of Auschwitz,” which were gradually recovered, in damaged and fragmentary form, in the years following the camp’s liberation. It painstakingly reconstructs their historical context and textual content, revealing complex literary works that resist narrow moral judgment and engage difficult questions about the limits of testimony.
The first book in English to specifically address the sexual violation of Jewish women during the Holocaust
During and in the aftermath of the dark period of the Holocaust, writers across Europe and America sought to express their feelings and experiences through their writings. This book provides a comprehensive account of these writings through essays from expert scholars, covering a wide geographic, linguistic, thematic and generic range of materials. Such an overview is particularly appropriate at a time when the corpus of Holocaust literature has grown to immense proportions and when guidance is needed in determining a canon of essential readings, a context to interpret them, and a paradigm for the evolution of writing on the Holocaust. The expert contributors to this volume, who negotiate the literature in the original languages, provide insight into the influence of national traditions and the importance of language, especially but not exclusively Yiddish and Hebrew, to the literary response arising from the Holocaust.
On 2 August 1944, in the wake of the complete destruction of the German Army Group Centre in Belorussia, Winston Churchill mocked Adolf Hitler in the House of Commons by the rank he had reached in the First World War. 'Russian success has been somewhat aided by the strategy of Herr Hitler, of Corporal Hitler,' Churchill jibed. 'Even military idiots find it difficult not to see some faults in his actions.' Andrew Roberts's previous book Masters and Commanders studied the creation of Allied grand strategy; Beating Corporal Hitler now analyses how Axis strategy evolved. Examining the Second World War on every front, Roberts asks whether, with a different decision-making process and a different strategy, the Axis might even have won. Were those German generals who blamed everything on Hitler after the war correct, or were they merely scapegoating their former Führer once he was safely beyond defending himself? In researching this uniquely vivid history of the Second World War Roberts has walked many of the key battlefield and wartime sites of Russia, France, Italy, Germany and the Far East. The book is full of illuminating sidelights on the principle actors that bring their characters and the ways in which they reached decisions into fresh focus.
In the age of the war on terror and what one critic has called 'disaster capitalism', the topic of trauma has assumed renewed cultural relevance. Trauma, Historicity, Philosophy is a collection of essays by Australian philosophers, psychoanalysts, and cultural theorists on the genealogy, semantics, and relevance of the concept of 'trauma' in the contemporary world. The collection features two essays by Agnes Heller and Gyorgy Markus addressing trauma, and what psychoanalysis' elevation of 'trauma' to cultural centrality means (and has meant) for modern philosophy and social theory. Other essays address '911', cyber-terrorism, the shoah, political tyranny, the 'end of history', and engage with the thought of Kierkegaard, Schmitt, Hobbes, Derrida, Agamben, Badiou, Zizek, Lacan and Freud.

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