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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 14, Issue 2 (June 2016) : 275-298
Ka-Tzetnik’s Moral Viewpoint

Or Rogovin
Rubric A: Literature and Ethics
Rubric B: Holocaust Literature



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 observe a 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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