Title

Ka-Tzetnik's Moral Viewpoint

Publication Date

Summer 6-2016

Journal

Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas

Volume

14

Issue

2

First Page

275

Last Page

298

Abstract

This essay examines the moral dimension of Jewish survival during the Holocaust as portrayed in the Salamandra sextet by Yehiel Dinur, known as “Ka-Tzetnik 135633.” Critics such as Omer Bartov and Iris Milner observea collective process of social and moral disintegration among Ka-Tzetnik’s characters — reflecting factual occurrences familiar from the work of survivors and scholars, such as Primo Levi, Eugen Kogon, or Wolfgang Sofsky. My close reading of Ka-Tzetnik’s novels, in contrast, suggests that Salamandra (1946), House of Dolls (1953) and Piepel (1961) abound in acts that demonstrate how solidarity and humanity were retained among Jews in the camps and ghettos. Furthermore, following James Phelan’s recent work on literary ethics, I show that this type of acts is in fact accentuated in the novels’ rhetorical design, which constructs the author’s moral viewpoint as the upholding of spiritual and moral values in resistance to the Nazi genocide.

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