Sunday 22 January 2023

Torture and totalitarianism

'Before being deported as a Jew, [Jean] Améry had been tortured as a Resistance fighter in Belgium. After spending one year beside the gas chambers of Auschwitz, he described torture not as an “accidental quality of the Third Reich” but rather as its “essence.” According to Améry, torture was “the apotheosis of National Socialism”:
“It was precisely in torture that the Third Reich materialized in all the density of its being.”'
I came across these words in an article by an Italian Marxist historian called Enzo Traverso. 

They reminded me of something Eugen Serbanescu wrote in his novel 'An Afternoon with a Nymphomaniac', that Romanian Communism was essentially sado-masochistic.

(By the way, like many far left academics, including ones who taught me such as Eric Foner and Jay Winter, Traverso lives in a fantasy world, as this interview with him shows. Yet people like him teach tomorrow's elite. While socialism had become out of date for working class people across Western Europe thanks to the post-war economic miracle intellectuals were embracing Marxism and different forms of Leninism.)


  1. Eugen Șerbănescu sent me the following comments.

    'Churchill said that communism was a sickness. And he was perfectly right. He was one of the few people in the West who, although never having lived even for an instant in that prison without bars of so many nations, had a full and deep understanding of the mass brainwashing aimed at creating Homo sovieticus, of the criminal methods that forced ideology on people’s minds and lives.

    'The bad news is that some of them have yet to recover, even thirty-three years after the Iron Curtain was torn down. This means that communism, which is to say, the mentality and behaviours it engendered, has outlived its own demise and will linger until the natural deaths of all the generations born under it.

    'The sickness of communism persisted in half of Europe for forty-five years after the advancing Red Army refused to withdraw to inside Soviet borders after the cessation of hostilities in World War Two. And more than forty-five years, with the clock starting in January 1990, will be required finally to be rid of its sequels—that is, if Russia is not prevented from starting the cycle of aggression all over again.

    'Even so, the nations of Central and Eastern Europe will still never be what they could have been if they had not suffered the curse of crawling through the communist wilderness for half a century.'

  2. History created -

  3. 'Churchill said that communism was a sickness'

    He did not.

    'crawling through the communist wilderness'

    Check this out: Winston Churchill's copy of his secret agreement with Joseph Stalin