In this article I explore instances of ambivalence towards the Nazi perpetrator as they are expressed in Jewish writings which were written during the war. These include forms of conscious and unconscious admiration, imitation, incorporation or other more subtle influences, which are openly discussed in these writings. Alluding to Primo Levi's ethical "Grey Zone" I suggest to relate to this phenomenon as an "epistemological grey zone" which does not necessarily result in dubious ethical acts, but nevertheless testifies to the complex relations between the annihilator in the victim and of the latter's identity. In the article I suggest a threefold typology of such phenomena: moral contamination, psychological identification with the aggressor and expressions of cultural admiration. My main focus is on Chaim Kaplan's Warsaw wartime diary - one of the most significant sources of Jewish life in Warsaw during the Nazi era - but I also use many other sources to support my claims.
|Translated title of the contribution
|"Nazism has conquered our entire world": The epistemological grey zone in Chaim Kaplan's war time diaries
|Number of pages
|Published - 2009