The Human Body in Nazi Concentration Camps: The Case of Stanisław Grzesiuk
Stanisław Grzesiuk’s Pięć lat kacetu (Five Years of Concentration Camps) is the account by a young Polish worker of his traumatic experiences in Nazi concentration camps. In this chapter, some of the approaches of feminist theory as applied to the literature of the Holocaust are used to analyze Grzesiuk’s work. The first part deals with the question of the body in his work, while an analysis of the body as a medium of communication is the main focus of the second part. It leads to the conclusion that it is Grzesiuk’s use of language, free of symbolic meanings, that enables him to discuss openly the existence of homosexuality in the camps, this despite his having been raised in a homophobic male subculture. An analysis of Grzesiuk’s account of homosexuality in the camps constitutes the third part of the chapter, which concludes by emphasizing the value of the feminist approach for Holocaust studies.
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