Die Schwelle des Zeugnisses überschritten. David Roussets L‘univers concentrationnaire liegt endlich auf Deutsch vor

Rezensionsessay: "David Rousset, Das KZ-Universum. Mit einem Nachw. von Jeremy Adler. Aus dem Franz. von Olga Radetzkaja und Volker Weichsel, Berlin 2020, 144 Seiten."

In 1946, writer and activist David Rousset (1912–1997) published a report on German concentration camps titled L’Univers concentrationnaire. He was—in the words of Jorge Semprún—the first to “cross the threshold of testimony” and make an attempt at a comprehensive analysis. After the Second World War, Rousset was equally active against the Soviet camp system. For inexplicable reasons, his writings have been ignored in Germany for decades, although they are indispensable for understanding totalitarian rule. There now exists a faithful German translation that does justice to Rousset’s linguistic force. Jeremy Adler’s epilogue draws attention to France’s existentialist and communist-dominated post-war intellectual milieu, but does not address problematic aspects of Rousset’s philosophy of the survival of horror. What is also missing is a historical contextualisation of the book as a document of early research on National Socialism and totalitarianism.

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