Open Access (free)
Kitty S. Millet

This article has two aims: to examine the effects of victim proximity to crematoria ashes and ash pits both consciously and unconsciously in a subset of Holocaust survivors, those who were incarcerated at the dedicated death camps of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, as well as Auschwitz-Birkenau; and to contrast these effects, the subject positions they produce, with their suppression as the basis both for a strategy of survival during incarceration and for a reimagined identity after the war. Within a cohort of four survivors from Rudolf Reder (Belzec), Esther Raab (Sobibor), Jacob Wiernik (Treblinka) and Shlomo Venezia (Auschwitz), I trace the ways in which discrete memories and senses became constitutive in the formation of the subject prior to and after escape – the experience of liberation – so that essentially two kinds of subjects became visible, the subject in liberation and the subject of ashes. In conjunction with these two kinds of subjects, I introduce the compensatory notion of a third path suggested both by H. G. Adler and Anna Orenstein, also Holocaust survivors, that holds both positions together in one space, the space of literature, preventing the two positions from being stranded in dialectical opposition to each other.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Machines of mass incineration in fact, fiction, and forensics
Robert Jan van Pelt

Holocaust, derived from a Greek word that means ‘something wholly burnt’.4 Often people refer loosely to the ‘gas ovens’ of Auschwitz, collapsing the gas chambers and crematoria ovens into one spurious umbrella concept that equates killing and burning. One of the first memoirs of Auschwitz, written by Sonia Landau and published under the Polish-Christian name she had adopted after her escape from the Warsaw ghetto, Krystyna Zywulska, systematically conflated the killing and burning. Indeed, while 99.99 per cent of the bodies that were burned were the corpses of people

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
The daily work of Erich Muhsfeldt, chief of the crematorium at Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, 1942–44
Elissa Mailänder

systematic DHR.indb 46 5/15/2014 12:51:05 PM Erich Muhsfeldt, chief of the crematorium  47 extermination.3 The Polish historian Tomasz Kranz coined the phrase ‘multifunctional provisional arrangement’ 4 to describe Majdanek, as its multifunctionality and improvisational character make it difficult to compare with other concentration camps. The nearest parallel is Auschwitz, which was also a concentration camp and extermination camp combined. I follow the French historian and sociologist Jacques Sémelin, and I make use of his social science oriented concept of

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
The tales destruction tells
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

made to serve as a political message of ultra-violence, as in Guatemala in the 1980s and in Eastern Europe during the Second World War (see chapter 3, DHR.indb 3 5/15/2014 12:51:03 PM 4  Élisabeth Anstett & Jean-Marc Dreyfus by McConnell). Bodies have also been reused, as resources, giving death and the dead an ultimately utilitarian purpose. Hair was collected at Auschwitz II – Birkenau, and gold teeth at Treblinka.9 Sometimes bodies have reappeared, without the knowledge of the murderers. This was the case with many of the bodies of victims of the Chinese

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

didn’t know who he was. When I started my research into Leonie’s story, I went back to the family tree, and found that there was a Claude Levy – grandson of Rosa, and son of Leo and Meta Levy, who were on the same transport to Auschwitz as Leonie on 16 September 1942. Paulette and I found the Stolpersteine for Leo and Meta in Busenberg, outside what must have been their house. Leo’s brother Siegfried, like Leonie’s daughter Eri, had emigrated to New York in the 1930s. And, as I eventually found out, Rosa herself survived a series of camps in France and also ended up

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
Recognition, Vulnerability and the International
Kate Schick

vulnerability and relationality. In what follows, I consider Adorno's notion of coldness, and argue that indifference towards others cannot be addressed with the straightforward prescription of warmth or love. Instead, it starts with the difficult task of recognizing our own lack of love and the pervasive societal coldness it reflects. In his reflections on ‘Education after Auschwitz

in Recognition and Global Politics
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

, known always as Willy. After the war, their last name was changed to Cole. I visited Eri and her family in Mahwah, New Jersey, in 1978. I knew nothing then of her torment in the early 1940s, as she tried to arrange for her mother, Leonie, to escape from Europe. For years, all I knew was that Leonie had died in the Holocaust, probably in Auschwitz. She was declared dead on 8 May 1945. With the help of Eri’s daughter, Paulette, in Massachusetts, and my colleague Jean-Marc Dreyfus, scholar of the Holocaust, I have been able to discover more about those last months and

in Austerity baby
The afterlives of human remains at the Bełzec extermination camp
Zuzanna Dziuban

from the site of the former extermination camp, Krystyna Oleksy, a representative of the State Museum Auschwitz-​Birkenau, framed it as ‘bordering on theft’ and a desecration of the grave.5 The first director of the newly established museum-​memorial site at Bełzec, Robert Kuwałek, also pointed out the almost unlawful character of the deed: ‘It is strictly forbidden to take “souvenirs” whilst visiting our premises’;6 ‘I have no knowledge of another instance of laying hold of such a peculiar souvenir by one of the guests’.7 Thus, he both intimated and explicitly

in Human remains in society
Jürgen Habermas and the European left
Robert Fine and Philip Spencer

the Holocaust, European antisemitism did not simply vanish like a puff of smoke. On her return to Germany in 1950 Hannah Arendt wrote of the resentment some ‘ordinary Germans’ felt for being blamed for Auschwitz. It was as if the real culprits were Jews who exploited the Holocaust for their own benefit, made money out of their suffering, denied the right of Germans to express their own suffering, and accused the Germans of being uniquely evil in their

in Antisemitism and the left
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

, having reached the fourth year of Pure Chemistry, I could no longer ignore the fact that chemistry itself, or at least that which we were being administered, did not answer my questions. [ 178 ] Later, as is well known from his memoir Survival in Auschwitz (also translated as If This Is a Man), being a chemist saved his life, when he was employed in the Buna chemical plant at Auschwitz. I am really no more interested in chemistry than I am in philately. And yet the subject keeps drawing me in. It isn’t just that it was my father’s profession, I think. In some

in Austerity baby