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Bestiarium JudaicumUnnatural Histories of the Jews$
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Jay Geller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275595

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275595.001.0001

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Afterword “It’s clear as the light of day”

Afterword “It’s clear as the light of day”

The Shoah and the Human /Animal Great Divide

(p.221) Afterword “It’s clear as the light of day”
Bestiarium Judaicum

Jay Geller

Fordham University Press

This afterword opens with an analysis of two of Gertrud Kolmar’s poems, one prior to the Nazi seizure of power and one prior to Kristallnacht, in which the Jewish and the Animal Questions intersect. It then turns to Gombiner’s lament that the human treatment of animals “is an eternal Treblinka” in I. B. Singer’s “The Letter Writer” (1968) and how it had been preceded by its converse in the experiences of the intended victims of the Holocaust and in memoirs, poems, and autobiographical novels of survivors (e.g., Primo Levi and Uri Zvi Greenberg). The Bestiarium Judaicum and its uses provided them with a language for understanding the dehumanization, the transformation into the suffering, killable Jew-Animal, to which they, “like sheep to the slaughter,” were being subjected. The relationship between dehumanization and objectification is parsed through an examination of Jiri Weil’s depiction of Prague’s deportation site as a “circus.”

Keywords:   dehumanization, Holocaust, Gertrud Kolmar, Primo Levi, objectification, sheep to the slaughter, I. B. Singer, Jiri Weil

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