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Etty Hillesum (1914-1943) And Abel Herzberg (1893-1989): Two Dutch Chroniclers Of The Shoah

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares Etty Hillesum and Abel Herzberg and the way they write about their concentration camp experience. Although they have much in common, they differ substantially in their assessment of the people around them. Hillesum and Herzberg share a profound interest in spiritual matters. They have similar views of the future after the Shoah and the role the persecuted should take in shaping it. To better compare the texts of these two authors, the chapter concentrates on her letters from the transit camp Westerbork, written between November 1942 and September 1943. Perhaps the difference in judgment between the two is rooted in their different relationships with God and with Jewish tradition. Both could be said to have a personal relationship with God, but Hillesum's is of a distinctly individual nature, whereas Herzberg primarily feels himself to be part of the Jewish community, worldwide and through the ages.

Keywords: Abel Herzberg; camp experience; Etty Hillesum; God; Jewish community; Jewish tradition; Shoah; spiritual matters



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