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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Reading Benedikt Kautsky in Benninga 23 Medaon , Noah Benninga. Reading Benedikt Kautsky in Benninga Up to that point, my work on the material culture of prisoners in Auschwitz had mainly dealt with theoretical and methodological subjects predicated by scarcity. I was familiar with depictions of the prisoner aristocracy by former prisoners, among them accounts by Primo Levi, Rudolf Vrba, and Hermann Langbein, which document the wide-ranging sartorial latitude which prisoner functionaries had enjoyed.

Three Years in the Gas Chambers, Chicago , p. If you caught sight of a prisoner with boots in the camp, you could bet that he was a room- orderly [Stubendienst] or a barber, someone who never had to stand in the mud, or at least a Capo or a foreman in a ditch commando. Some of these generalizations are presumably his own, while others may have been prevalent in prisoner society, of which Kautsky was, after all, a seven-year veteran.

My translation. Immediately after the war, a commemorative book in her memory was published: Hertz, Paul ed. However, such generalizations are often imprecise and may reproduce biases present in their formation. Thus, they have explanative power, but should also be treated critically.

Approaching Kautsky is not simple. The road is made more difficult by the fact that a full-length biography is still lacking, and that his writing, which took 8 Langbein, Hermann: Der Auschwitz-Prozess. Eine Dokumentation, Bd. Kenneth Case, London This would seem to indicate that Ash found this statement by Kautsky to be highly significant.

To the best of my knowledge Ash did not publish his reading of Kautsky before his death. Moreover, he does not always indicate to which period of his seven-year experience an event belongs. Above all, the early date of his account means that he wrote without recourse to subsequent secondary accounts, particularly the Nuremburg trials. Kautsky is not mentioned.

Today, after decades of relative obscurity, there are some signs that scholarly interest in Kautsky might be rising. They were happy to have an account perceived as saying little about the Jews, and what was said was negative, while dismissing the SS as stupid and lazy, thereby downplaying the role of ideology.

Fischer, Much Worse, , p. In any case, in the 15 years between his liberation and his death, Kautsky did not become a sociologist or historian of the Nazi concentration camps. At the same time, it must be recognized that Kautsky sheds not only light on his subject matter but also shadow. After the Anschluss, Kautsky was arrested, though not, it seems, in the roundup of leading communists as he would have liked to portray himself , but rather in the attempt by local authorities to complete their quota by arresting second tier communist and even non-political Jews.

In , he obtained his Habilitation and was ultimately given a student-less chair at the university in Vienna. As noted above, a complete answer unfortunately includes both Holocaust historians and Holocaust deniers. I am unfamiliar with any other cases and the matter bears further research. Langbein, Menschen, , pp. At a time when most medical personnel in the ghetto were keeping their cyanide for their own relatives, she was perceived as having acted selflessly.

See: Krall, Hanna: Shielding the Flame. An Intimate Conversation with Dr. Marek Edelman, New York , p. See also note 24 above.

See also: Westermann, Edward B. Nevertheless, he did not share in them equally. These are delicate and complicated issues, but for the sake of brevity, if not clarity, we must try and broach them directly. However, the problem is one of nuances. Fischer, at any rate, concentrates on two passages as the most problematic concerning the Jews. Emphasis added. This is even more true of the second passage highlighted by Fischer, in which Kautsky states that, presumably in contrast to himself and the other political prisoners, the Jews understood their deportation to Auschwitz solely as a disaster.

His point on the ineffectiveness of the Jewish religion as a source of resistance is belied by the Sonderkommando uprising, which was led by Jews from a number of countries, and variety of backgrounds; Kautsky does not ascribe much importance to this event, which the general camp resistance, led by the political prisoners, did not support. Meisels risked death to blow the shofar for the children as they awaited their last moments on Yom Kippur, , providing them with the hope of redemption and union with their loved ones.

What about his generalizations regarding prisoner categories? According to Falk Pingel, still the most nuanced study of prisoner society, camp stereotypes had a reifying effect on prisoner behavior, leading prisoners to adopt behaviors which were expected of them by their category.

Those prisoners who were not antisemitic from the outset could use antisemitic codes to improve their lot in the camp; for example, ingratiating themselves with the SS by showing harshness to Jewish prisoners, purloining their goods, or using antisemitism to justify their own privilege.

Of course, those who arrive already as active antisemites easily found a common language with the camp SS. Widerstand, Selbstbehauptung und Vernichtung im Konzentrationslager, Hamburg , pp.

The crucial point seems to be not so much the details of the Red reports, but their use of undifferentiated generalization to obfuscate their own inextricable involvement in life and death in the camps.

The life and death competition between groups in the camp, as well as the desire to join in shaping post-war society, surely influenced Kautsky, among others, to ascribe guilt to the proximate instead of the ultimate cause. However, political prisoners are not consistently undifferentiated and biased. Related Papers.

Bruno Bettelheim and the concentration camps. By Christian Fleck. By Bill Niven. By Paris Papamichos Chronakis. By Jonathan Friedman. By Andreas Kranebitter and Florian Freund. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Need an account? Click here to sign up.


Teufel Und Verdammte

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