Sunday, August 7

The “tamed”

Cousin Levi (if this is a Man, trans. Pilar Gómez Bedate, 6th ed., Barcelona, ​​2003), who, as is known, worked as a slave in an industrial plant in the Auschwitz complex, said the following answering the question of why there were no mass rebellions of the prisoners , of those sentenced to death in the concentration camps ?: “In the first place it should be remembered that in some Lager there were indeed insurrections: in Treblinka, in Sobibor and also in Birkenau … They did not have great numerical weight: as the similar insurrection of the ghetto of Warsaw, were rather examples of extraordinary moral strength. In all cases they were planned and directed by prisoners of some sort privileged, therefore in better physical and spiritual conditions than those of ordinary prisoners. This should not be surprising, only at first. At first glance, it may seem paradoxical that those who suffer least rise up. Outside of the Lager, the struggles are rarely led by the sub-proletariat. The ‘ragged’ do not rebel …

We could ask ourselves why the prisoners did not rebel as soon as they got off the train, who waited hours (sometimes days!) Before entering the gas chambers … In most cases, the newcomers did not know what was happening to them. had prepared: they were received with cold efficiency but without brutality, they were invited to undress ‘for the shower’, sometimes they were given a towel and soap, and they were promised coffee after the bath. When, on the contrary, a prisoner gave the slightest sign of knowing or suspecting his imminent fate, the SS and its collaborators acted by surprise, intervened with extreme brutality, shouting, threatening, kicking, shooting and prodding – against those perplexed and desperate people, marinated for five or ten days of travel in sealed wagons – to their dogs trained to tear men to pieces. Nobody rebelled. Suffice it to remember that the gas chambers of Auschwitz were tested with a group of three hundred Russian prisoners of war, young, with military training, politically prepared and without the restraint represented by women and children; they didn’t rebel either. “

The key, however, is that, as Levi says, “the ‘ragged’ do not rebel”, the quality of “ragged” – or that of “Muslim”, in the concept used in the Lager – is not the same. that of “person”, not even that of “humiliated person”, lowered, destroyed … The question, then, is not why the people who were in the camps did not rebel, that question is badly posed, simply because there, after a while, there were no people, they had finished with them: “Destroying man is difficult, almost as much as creating him: it has not been easy, it has not been short, but you have achieved it, Germans. Here we are docile under your eyes: from us you have nothing to fear: no acts of rebellion, no words of defiance, not even a gaze that judges “(Levi). The indifference. To these “beaten dogs” nothing is capable of making them raise their heads defiantly. Only the oxen remain. Not even the greatest sign of rebellion, that of pride in the face of certain and imminent death.

For this reason, when the last man executed by hanging in Auschwitz – for having, together with the incineration command, made one of the furnaces “blow up” – said moments before the hatch of the gallows was opened: “Kamaraden, ich bin der Letze“(Comrades, I am the last), nothing happened:” We have continued standing, hunched and gray, with our heads bowed, and we have only uncovered our heads when the German ordered us to do so. The hatch has been opened, the body has slipped atrociously; the band has returned to play, and we, once again formed in a column, have marched before the last tremors of the dying man. At the foot of the gallows, the SS watched us pass with indifferent glances: their work was done and well done. The Russians can come now: there are no more men among us, the last one now hangs over our heads, and for the rest, few halters have been enough. The Russians can come: they will find us only the tamed ones, the finished ones, now worthy of the defenseless death that awaits us “(Levi).

In Auschwitz they first killed the soul, the end of the body had no significance, it just happened. For this reason, after the liberation of the camps, many “dead” wandered around Europe. For this reason, when they themselves finished with his body (“verrà la morte e avra i tuoi occhi“–Death will come and he will have your eyes–, Pavese), which was frequent (in the end, Levi himself), that act should not be classified as suicide. For the same reason this last number, that of the” false suicides “It must morally increase that of those who” came out of the chimneys. “In Srebrenica, on the other hand, they ended up in a single act with soul and body. Thus, the genocides of Sabra and Chatilla (Lebanese Phalangists and Jewish army) can never be equated ), or Srebrenica (Serbs from Mladic and the UN), with Auschwitz. This is also the reason why after Auschwitz it is obscene to speak of God or providence, because in the case that, contrary to what was announced by Nietzsche, reason would not have already killed him (“But when Zarathustra was left alone he said to himself ‘Is it possible? This holy man isolated in his forest has not yet found out that God is dead!”), obviously , yes, he committed suicide by not intervening in Auschwitz: this is how God could die, for the third time, eighty years ago us.