- Purchase/rental options available:
Psychoanalyst Dori Laub asserts that for camp inmates the Holocaust extinguished the possibility of “I-thou” interaction. Address and response, the basis of human subjectivity, became impossible for the prisoner to imagine. The author of this article uses victims’ descriptions of perpetrators to investigate this assertion. Do survivors at times conceive of a wartime assailant as “you”—as an addressable human agent? Comparing two clusters of testimony by Lithuanian Jews, the author finds that contemporary language and social context shape the victims’ stance toward Holocaust perpetration—that is, how they weigh human versus structural wrong. She also points out various ethical traps inherent in each of the two methods of remembering wartime aggressors.