The Power of Language: Communication, Memory, and Greek Jews during the Holocaust Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • Buller, Robin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
Abstract
  • Reflecting on his experience in Auschwitz, Primo Levi wrote, “Survival [in a concentration camp] depended on an inmate’s capacity to readily carry out commands.” Familiarity with the language of those in charge was critical and, typically, that language was German. The multilingual Greek Jews of Salonika, whose non-Germanic linguistic background isolated them from the majority of the prisoner population, serve as an excellent case study through which to we can understand the relationship between language and survival during the Holocaust. This study concentrates on two Salonikan Jewish sources: the oral testimony of Eli Benyacar and the written memoir of Léon Perahia. Through close analysis of these two rich accounts, this study demonstrates the centrality of language to everyday concentration camp interactions, collective identity, and prisoner resistance. It introduces the concept of “linguistic power” as a framework for understanding hierarchies and explores the role of language in memory.
Date of publication
Keyword
DOI
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Jarausch, Konrad Hugo
  • Bryant, Chad
  • Auerbach, Karen
Degree
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016
Language
Parents:

This work has no parents.

Items