Share of Death: Care Crosses Camp


  • Georgios Tsagdis Institute of Philosophy, Leiden University; School of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Architectural Association, London



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.


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