Losing Trust in the World

Holocaust Scholars Confront Torture

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Leonard Grob, John K. Roth
Stephen S. Weinstein Series in Post-Holocaust Studies
  • Seattle, WA: 
    University of Washington Press
    , December
     245 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In July 1943, the Gestapo arrested an obscure member of the resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Belgium. When his torture-inflicting interrogators determined he was no use to them and that he was a Jew, he was deported to Auschwitz. Liberated in 1945, Jean Améry went on to write a series of essays about his experience. No reflections on torture are more compelling.

Améry declared that the victims of torture lose trust in the world at the "very first blow." The contributors to this volume use their expertise in Holocaust studies to reflect on ethical, religious, and legal aspects of torture then and now. Their inquiry grapples with the euphemistic language often used to disguise torture and with the question of whether torture ever constitutes a "necessary evil." Differences of opinion reverberate, raising deeper questions: Can trust be restored? What steps can we as individuals and as a society take to move closer to a world in which torture is unthinkable?

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Leonard Grob is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

John K. Roth is Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (now the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights), Claremont McKenna College. The other contributors are Margaret Brearley, Suzanne Brown-Fleming, Dorota Glowacka, Peter J. Haas, Bjørn Krondorfer, David Patterson, Sarah K. Pinnock, and Didier Pollefeyt.


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