The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates.
Such controversial figures constitute an intrinsically important, frequently misunderstood, and often taboo aspect of the Holocaust. Drawing on Primo Levi’s concept of the “grey zone,” this study analyzes the passing of moral judgment on “privileged” Jews as represented by writers, such as Raul Hilberg, and in films, including Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah
and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List
Negotiating the problems and potentialities of “representing the unrepresentable,” Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone'
(Berghahn Books) engages with issues that are fundamental to present-day attempts to understand the Holocaust and deeply relevant to reflections on human nature.
is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Deakin University, Australia, and a volunteer at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, where he initiated the digitization of the Centre’s survivor video testimony collection.
Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com