Share of Death: Care Crosses Camp
Keywords:care, death, concentration, camps, witness, totalitarianism, Todorov, Heidegger, Levinas, Agamben
The essay thematises the question of care in conditions of total power – not merely extra muros, in the everyday life of the Third Reich, but in its most radical articulation, the concentration camp. Drawing inspiration from Todorov’s work, the essay engages with Levinas, Agamben, Derrida and Nancy, to investigate Heidegger’s determination of Da-sein’s horizon through a solitary confrontation with death. Drawing extensively on primary testimonies, the essay shows that when the enclosure of the camp became the Da of existence, care assumed a radical significance as the link between the death of another and the death of oneself. In the face of an apparatus of total power and its attempt to individuate and isolate death, the sharing of death in the figure of care remained one’s most inalienable act of resistance and the last means to hold on to death as something that could be truly one’s own.
Améry, Jean (1980), At the Mind’s Limits, Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Antelme, Rober (1998), The Human Race. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
Bettelheim, Bruno (1980), Surviving and other essays. New York: Vintage Books. Blumenberg, Hans (2010), Care Crosses the River. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Borowski, Tadeusz (1976), This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. London: Penguin.
Celan, Paul (2005), Die Gedichte, Kommentierte Gesamtausgabe. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Derrida, Jacques (2005), Sovereignties in Question, The Poetics of Paul Celan. New York: Fordham University Press.
—. (2001), The Work of Mourning. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
—. (1995), Points…, Interviews 1974–1994. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Douglas, Lawrence (2001), “Memory and Crimes Against Humanity: A Response to Todorov,” Salmagundi 128-129: 320–326.
Duras, Marguerite (1986), The War, A Memoir. New York: The New Press.
Gelson, Richard J. (1998), “Todorov’s ‘New’ Humanism: France’s ‘Imperfect Garden’”, South Central Review, 15(3-4): 47–53.
Goodheart, Eugene (2004), “Tzvetan Todorov’s Humanism”, Canadian Review of Comparative literature, 31(2): 181–194.
Heidegger, Martin (2012) Bremen and Freiburg Lectures. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
—. (1996), Being and Time. New York: SUNY.
—. (1995), The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, World, Finitude, Solitude.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kertész, Imre (2006), Fateless. London: Vintage.
Krell, David Farrell (2015), “Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, 1931–31”, Research in Phenomenology 45(1): 127–160.
Levi, Primo (2004) If This is a Man. London: Abacus.
—. (2003a), Moments of Reprieve. London: Penguin.
—. (2003b), The Drowned and the Saved. London: Abacus.
Levinas, Emmanuel (2000), God, Death and Time. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
—. (1990), Nine Talmudic Readings. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Nancy, Jean–Luc (2000), Being Singular Plural. Stanfornd: Stanford University Press.
—. (1993), The Experience of Freedom. Stanford: Stanford UP.
Kofman, Sarah (1998), Smothered Words. Illinois: Northwestern University Press. Patterson, Charles (2002), Eternal Treblinka. New York: Lantern Books.
Semprun, Jorge (2005), The Cattle Truck. London: Serif.
Todorov, Tzvetan (2002), Imperfect Garden, The Legacy of Humanism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
—. (2001), Life in Common, An Essay in General Anthropology. London: University of Nebraska Press.
—. (2000), Facing the Extreme, Moral Life in the Concentration Camps. London: Phoenix.
—. (1997), “Ten Years Without Primo Levi”, Salmagundi (116-117): 3–18.
Wiesel, Elie (2008), The Night Trilogy. New York: Hill and Wang.
—. (1975), “For some measure of humility”, Sh’ma, a journal of Jewish Responsibility 5(100): 314–316.
Articles published in the Philosophy and Society will be Open-Access articles distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.