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Ideas Toward a Sociology of the Concentration Camp Author(s): H. G. Adler Source: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 63, No.

5 (Mar., 1958), pp. 513-522 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2773078 . Accessed: 22/01/2014 08:32
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IDEAS TOWARD A SOCIOLOGYOF THE CONCENTRATION CAMP'


H. G. ADLER

ABSTRACT There are five major possibilities for sociological study of the concentration camp: investigation of the social structure of the concentration camp; the concentration camp within the system of contemporary society; its role among all other modern institutions involving the deprivation of freedom; a comparative study of all institutions ever created for the deprivation of freedom; and a social-psychological study of the concentration camp. The concentration camp is seen as the most recent institution of oppression in which prisoners live without rights and under conditions of extreme want. The determining factors are always ideological and economic. The prisoners always fall into actual, if concealed, slavery carried on by police authorities. The concentration camp reached its most extreme and cruel stage of development in the totalitarian state.

bing men of their freedom permanently, not as a benefit of civilized criminal law (as in the civilian prison), or international law (as in prisoner-of-warcamps), or as a measure to protect the public health (as in the case of the mental hospital). Social life in the concentration camp follows established regulations, analogous to those in homes for the aged, in barracks, hospitals, or dormitories. In addition, an autochthonous society emerges withhin the concentration camp. This society, to be sure, is subject to formal regulations and, indeed, reflects the social forms of the surrounding society to a fantastic degree; yet it develops according to its own laws, a phenomenon less marked or entirely absent in other isolated groups, whether they be nominally free or not. Thus, this line of investigation would focus upon the social structure specific to the camp, its interI nal relationships and accommodations.The There are five possible ways of studying sources would be the vast existing literature, of widely varying usefulness, on Nathe concentration camp. 1. One may look at the concentration tional Socialist, Communist,and other concentration camps. camp as a society. 2. One may look at the concentration In contrast to other institutions involving within the system of contemporary camp loss of freedom, the concentration camp is conceived in principle as a means of rob- society, especially in the authoritarian and terroristic states. ' This article was translated for the Journal by In a world made vulnerable, or at least Wolf Heydebrand, of the University of Chicago, influenced, by the ideas of enlightstrongly with assistance from Everett C. Hughes. the purely secular state, the new enment, Camps To Be Investigated by 2"Concentration and secular socialism, the fate democracy, Social Science," Wiener Library Bulletin (Lonof the man who dissents from the guiding don), March-May, 1947. 513

Many years have passed since the collapse of German national socialism, and so many books have been written about its most notorious institution that even those extreme horrors have lost their power to shock. Fascinated disgust faded first into repugnance and then finally, especially in the Anglo-Saxonworld, into indifference. This is dangerous; these problems represent nothing less than an extreme-admittedly a fantastically extreme-special case of actual conditions, or, at least, they represent the latent possibilities found everywhere in modern society. As the problems of National Socialism have receded from their sphere of emotion, the time has come to look at them with sociological detachment. The concentration camp, in particular, deserves unbiased investigation, as I proposedmore than ten years ago.2

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THE AMERICANJOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY describe the history of the modern concentration camp but seek out the institutions of earlier times that are akin to it and that exhibit elements likely to exist whenever men are significantly or totally excluded from a relatively free community. An understanding of the concentration camp is impossible without insight into the nature of slavery; the concentration camp is part of the history of slavery. The will to rule is not necessarily also the will to oppress, but the opposition of the ruled leads inevitably to their oppression, given the initial violation of recognized principles of freedom. Whenever this occurs, and is not checked, the concentration camp, or a similar institution of slavery and extreme deprivation of freedom, may threaten. In the era of postenlightenment, of the pseudo-socialist state, and of the state that rests on democratic (and antidemocratic) principles, the concentration camp is an ideal instrument. For ideological and propagandistic reasons, as well as for reasons of tactics in dealing with other nations, this type of state cannot "officially"reintroduce formal slavery, and therefore it must do it by subterfuge. The concentration camp is an institution of concealed slavery in a regime which, for arbitrary and complex reasons, cannot realize its tyrannical goals without unrestrained mendacity. 5. This last line of inquiry leads to a social-psychological consideration of the concentrationcamp concernedwith the critical examination of modern and, especially, of totalitarian-terroristicpower structures. They may be identical with the state, but usually they are not, because the state is merely an instrument, that is, an executive organ for the decrees of the ruling group (e. g., the National Socialist or Communist party or, perhaps, a party unit like the SS or the NKVD). In contrast to earlier autocracies, dictatorships, and terroristicregimes, the modern totalitarian state cannot appeal to sacred commitments, yet at the same time it cannot get along without obedient--nay,

principles and ideas of the ruling group has become important: how he is to be rendered innocuous as soon as the ruling group feels threatened by him and, how, under whatever pretense, that group discards all protections granted by the constitutional state and the democratic guaranties for personal inviolability. The dissenter is excluded from the community of those who conform, sent to the concentration camp, or killed. This approach to the study of the concentration camp would begin with the position of the ruling group, paying particular attention to political and economic conditions. 3. One might analyze the role of the concentration camp within the system of those contemporary institutions in which people are deprived of their freedom, permanently or temporarily, "lawfully" or "unlawfully." Such an approach, for which the relevant prerequisite research is lacking, would necessitate the construction of a sociology of "the unfree." All known degrees of freedom would first have to be classified, described, and categorically determined, to show the extent of freedom granted, the restrictions on freedom,and the reasonsgiven for the restrictions. Obviously, every person, according to his position in his society, is subject to institutionalized degrees of dependence which allow himself something less than the theoretical extremes of freedom. Every man belongs to a society; even his place in a family, or a school, or an occupation limits his freedom. He is continually more "institutionalized" by the community's striving for continuity, by its self-preservation, and even by its care of him. The extreme of institutionalization lies in the community's various forms of exclusion, provided he is allowed to live. In the modern state those extreme forms of exclusion are representedby the penitentiary and by the concentrationcamp. 4. Social-historical appraisal and socialmorphological definition of the concentration camp would form the objective of a fourth kind of study. This line of investigation should not only

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blindly devoted-adherence on the part of its collaborators.The deep commitment to the regime is not of a sacred nature, yet the committed owe their co-operation not to love or individual convictions but to an ideological persuasion which forces the free man to renounce almost all freedom of thought. He who does not renounce it is in extreme danger of losing his social and material (physical) freedom, the very first predestined inmate of the concentration camp. The ideology as such is neither true nor false. It is a prescribed conglomerate of ideas with crude emotional appeal, the principles of which can be arbitrarily applied, revoked, or at least put aside. Thus, the followers, as well as the opponents of a totalitarian regime governed by an ideological "superstructure," are forced constantly to adapt themselves to the "will" of the moment-the notorious "party line" of the Communists-and at the cost of perpetual dishonesty. He who does not succeed in achieving a flexible, well-timed adjustment to the arbitrarily chosen ideological-in fact, tactical-changes of line is disenfranchised as a member of the "free" society and sent to the concentration camp. Only there, relieved from extreme strain, may the person, under certain conditions, begin to behave "naturally"; the more hopeless his civil position, the easier it may be for him to re-establish his inner freedom, as has been documentedby the inmates of Russian and German concentration camps. This relative freedom from falsehood can exist unless the living conditions of the camp itself reach a point that excludes all thought on the part of the inmates or unless the terror becomes so strong that not only the top functionaries of the "self-administration" but also the rest of the inmates cease to show any sign of spiritual freedom. TT Slavery and serfdom were abolished almost everywhere in the nineteenth century and have not since been reintroduced in any country, even in totalitarian states. In

what sense, then, can the concentration camp still be categorized under the system of slavery in strict definition of the term? What is slavery? We shall have to touch on this briefly. In the short but pregnant definition of my late friend, the social anthropologist of Oxford, Franz Baerman Steiner, slavery is exploitation of men without contract. Wherever slavery is found in unmitigated form, we must recognize in the slave a man deprived of all the rights society attributes to other men. In slavery one man has power over another without standing to him in any relation the law would consider as creating mutual rights. The result is a one-sided solidarity; the master can punish the slave, but not the slave the master. The legal relation is one of property, not of contract; jus in rem, not jus in personam. The proprietary relationship brought about by the capturing and trading of slaves can be easily understoodin regard to private slavery, where slaves are owned by a household or individual owner. (This form of slavery was widespread in Western cultures from antiquity until the nineteenth century.) The proprietary relationship is, however, usually obscured in modern slavery as maintained by the state; no individual has personal rights upon the slave, at least not in theory. There is no open slave market; behind the public's back, labor is officially leased but not sold. Here slavery is monopolized, organized, and maintained by special state agencies. By an administrative act, slaves are created, removed from freedom or legally justified imprisonment, and taken into absolute bondage. In totalitarian countries the maintenance of slavery is in the hands of the police and is neither officially admitted nor legally established in the traditional sense. Consequently, it is not a publicly recognized institution. Its true meaning is usually hidden from the people, the free as well as the enslaved; officially one refers to "prisoners." For this reason it could more correctly be called "crypto-slavery" or, under the Nazis, "SS slavery," where

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the authorized slaveowners were the central security office of the Reich and its branches, Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt (central office for economy and administration). With the exception of a few humanized slave laws, state slavery always implies the isolation of the slaves from those who are free and from all social relations, especially kinship. (This is often the case, too, in private slavery, with the exception of the slaves who live in the master's household, but in private slavery laws and governmental actions set limits to a master's despotism.) State slavery makes the slave subject to the unlimited power of authorized officials and in most cases leaves him without protection and without control over his treatment. Such is the modern state slavery that keeps its victims in the concentration camp. III Although we are still far from having laid the foundations for a sociology of the concentration camp, we may now pursue a number of ideas implied in our sketch of the five main lines of inquiry. In the form primarily developed by national socialism and bolshevism, the concentration camp is the latest institution of oppression reserved for our day and time. In the long run, and in its most extreme form, it can be maintained only under a totalitarian regime. The term "concentration camp," although new, is semantically revealing. Its very primary meaning designates so novel a way of setting people off for special captivity that it hardly suggests earlier institutions of imprisonmentsuch as penal servitude or other forms of legally based custody or exclusion from the society of free men. However, the institution as such does exhibit the characteristicsof older methods of arbitrary deprivation of freedom, while adapting them to new tasks and needs. Actual or merely potential opponents of the existing order, even suspected or actu-

al members of ideologically stigmatized groups, are taken into custody and concentrated in a camp without legal procedure. An example is the type of internment camp established in Cuba toward the end of the last century and, later, by the English in the Boer War, who called them "concentration camps" for the first time. They were planned as emergency measures only for the duration of the war. Similar camps were known during World War I, especially in Russia; these were internment camps for alien civilians. Under international law the legality of such procedures to prevent escape, espionage, and undesirablepolitical activity, where there is no reason to suspect any given individual, is at best questionable. Similar internments occurred during the wars of the nineteenth century (e.g., in 1870-71), although certain humanitarian principles were respected. As protective custody in the interest of the state or the rulers, this institution is very old and has been preserved in the tradition of taking hostages. During the European wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, civil prisoners were usually treated gently; they were protected, if possible, from any excesses among their guards and, by and large, were subject to regulations that applied to prisoners of war. There was no obligation to work, a principle still upheld by many countries during World War II. But the situation of these detained aliens grew steadily worse during the twentieth century. During World War I, Russia arrested even its own citizens as a preventive measure and exposed them to inhuman treatment. France dealt harshly with the German civilian prisoners in Africa but still called it an "emergency measure against aliens." Russia went one step further-deportation-a practice she has never abandoned. This not only was a punitive measure, as it was, for instance, in France even in the twentieth century, but was linked to the security aspect of preventive arrest. National socialism re-established this form of captivity as "honorary custo-

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dy" for distinguished citizens or aliens who were sent to concentration camps. The arrest of innocent relatives of an opponent of the regime was a revival of the practice of taking hostages and of the ancient institution of kinship liability. Bolshevism has used this kind of liability on a large scale. In keeping with an ideology defined as the "party line," entire groups were labeled according to their nationalities, their membership in real or supposed social classes, and their political convictions, thus becoming enemies of the state, fit to be imprisoned and deported. They were used as enforced labor to make possible and maintain the economy of Soviet Russia. In Russia the original significance of the concentration camp was changed by the devastations of World War I, by the methods of combat during the Revolution and the Civil War, by the rise of a police power unconcerned with human dignity, and, finally, by the establishment of a ruthlessly controlled economy and an autocratic despotism which depended on political "purges."Officially,the concentrationcamp was not called by that name, although it corresponded exactly to its designation today. Russia has never undergone a period comparable to the epoch of humanism in the West. The transition from feudalism to a system of mechanical materialism, which distributedpositions in state, economy, and party-like feudal tenures, occurred almost without intermediate steps. About sixty years after the abolition of serfdom, the concentration camp became a permanent institution. Unlike the German concentration camp, the Russian was aimed from the very first principally at economic exploitation of the inmates. Thus the Russian concentration camp never had so much an ideological function as an economic one"socialist reconstruction."Although the reinforcement of the regime played an important and ideologically relevant role, it was soon superseded by the intention to secure cheap labor. It has already been indicated

that the concept "enemy of the state" lent itself to broad interpretation indeed, as documented by the fate of "Trotskyists," "Kulaks," or Crimean Tartars. Some semblance of legal procedure was usually kept up. "Sentences" were passed; in Stalin's later period these were never under ten years, more often twenty-five years. The conditions in the camps varied according to climate, kind of labor, and local conditions. They could be unbearable, which almost certainly meant a quick end, but one could live in them, too. According to many accounts by witnesses, the conditions have improved since Stalin's death, but it remains to be seen whether the abolition or, to be more exact, the "significant reduction" announced by Khrushchev is true or merely propaganda and tactical interlude. If it should turn out to be true, then the concentration camp, according to the proclaimed directives, will be modified into a place of enforced residence, and slavery into bondage or serfdom. In the Russian concentration camps, labor is usually exploited for life according to the "norm" of a controlled economy, one, in fact, quite without reason. In this case, as in all concentration camps typical of totalitarian states, inmates are subject to a special discipline. These are its main characteristics: The prisoners are strictly secluded from the rest of the world, although, when working, they may have occasional contacts with the free population; they may send out or receive little or no mail; visits are almost never permitted; they live in poor and crowded quarters and are insufficiently clothed, fed, and, in case of illness, poorly cared for; the sexes are kept separate; prisonersare subject to rigid regulations, watched inside and outside the camp, and subordinated to functionaries appointed from their own ranks. As a rule, they carry out enforced labor, generally arbitrary and excessive; they have on principle no rights and seldom the possibility of fashioning their individual lives, even in their too few hours of leisure; if not privileged as functionaries, they have

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no acknowledgedrights whatsoever and are therefore in no way legally competent and thus can be punished by the least violation of actual or simply fictitious regulations.In other words, they are utterly at the mercy of their two levels of superiors (those who are themselves prisoners and those who are free). In a concise formula we may state: The prisoner in the concentration camp lives without rights under conditions of extreme want. Often not a convict, he does not even enjoy the protection against abuses granted the sentenced convict in a constitutional state. There exists a gross disproportion,and usually no relation whatsoever, between the alleged or-much less frequently-real offense, on the one hand, and the prisoner's state of being temporarily or permanently deprived of freedom, on the other. These propositions hold for any developed systems of concentration camps and thus for the National Socialist too. But in Germany the ideological function was predominant. In spite of the inscription over the doors-"Work makes man free"-economic exploitation over and above the needs of the SS played little or no role at first. It became increasingly important only in the war economy of the later years of the Third Reich. At first, the main function of the camps, as stressed by Eugen Kogon, was the elimination of any real or supposed enemy.3 Anyone who was, on ideological grounds,presumed dangerouswas held captive. Here "ideology" refers primarily to the biological "Aryan-Jewish" myth, the witch mania of our day, which is all there is of National Socialist "metaphysics" and "doctrine of salvation"; whereas communism uses an economic utopia for its totalitarian aims. Because of this race ideology, the camps in Germany had to absorb, over and above political opponents, the members of allegedly inferior races, Jews and gypsies, who were in this manner insolated from society, together with so-called asocials, true criminals, and actual opponents
3Der SS Staat (2d ed.; Berlin: Druckhaus Teushelhof, 1947).

of the regime.Thus, whereverHitler's power reached, all Jews were imprisoned. The blind hatred against the Jews stood in the way of planned exploitation of their labor almost up to the end. This, however, did not exclude their economic exploitation on a more primitive level, ranging from stealing Jewish property down to the last miserable item to the shameless use of the corpses of these senselessly killed millions. Examples are the taking of the gold fillings out of teeth, the cutting-off of women's hair, and even the use of the ashes of the burned bodies as fertilizer. In the course of time the principle of the Nazi camps-to extinguish all real enemies or all persons thus labeled-became more and more closely tied to Russia's prime objective: the exploitation of labor. From then on, however, the National Socialists used such extreme methods that the vital energy of their victims was exhausted considerably faster under their regime than under any other institution of oppressionfor which we have statistics, Negro slavery, for instance. This has two reasons. The isolation and the extinction of Jews and, secondarily, of other people were considered a mythical goal, an act of liberation and salvation, as Hitler imagined it. This demonic disdain for man did not allow for any change of policy, even when other interests became important. This explains the second reason. It is obvious that the link between cruelty and disdain for human life could not simply be turned off. Although this cruelty is not without precedent, it had never before been a principle in itself in any other system, certainly not in Russia. As a result of the difference between Russia and Germanyin the matter of slave labor, the methods of treating slaves are different too. In Russia, torturing individuals, beyond forcing them to live under certain general conditions, was avoided in theory, although by no means always in practice. In Germany, abuse, if not expressly ordered, was, however, an essential feature of the system. The SS was actually

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CAMP OF THE CONCENTRATION SOCIOLOGY spurredon to continued mayhem. A further difference is geographical: camps located in jungles and the polar zone need not be as isolated or the slaves as strictly guarded as in Central Europe. The differences between the National Socialist and Bolshevist systems also account for the kind of discipline exerted in the camps. A certain personal relation between a tormentor and his victim is necessary, even if cruelty has become a habit. Even the bestiality practiced by the SS on the lowest, most vile level was charged with affect and, in this abominable sense, was still human. The extinction of the prisoners was always the main function of the German camp. But, where every human relation is dispassionate and of little appeal, the situation is different. The bestiality of bolshevism was unconditional; it was not concerned with the individual, and it remained free of the terrible satisfaction gained from the victim's capacity for suffering. The utilization of labor has always been the principal aim of the Russian camp. Both systems have in common an immense waste of human life, which is true of any form of slavery not moderated by legal or moral measures of protection. During the period of Stalin's absolute power, starting about 1936, a prisoner's average length of life was estimated at between two and five years, sometimes less, varying with the particular living conditions. The SS, as Kogon reports, figured the average length of life to be only nine months.4 (The transports of prisoners destined to be killed immediately in the huge slaughterhouses in Poland are not considered here; it should be noted that these figures certainly refer only to camps located within the German boundaries of 1937. In the East most prisoners, primarilyJews, literally wasted away within a still shorter period, often within a few weeks.) Certain subspecies of the concentration camp developed. These were more pronounced in Russia, mostly because of the
4Op. cit.

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longer history of bolshevism; yet, owing to insufficient information on the Russian camp forms, nothing final can be said. We know that there is every gradation, from camps with unconcealed slavery to relatively mild correctioncamps for short-term stay, even to those established simply to carry out the dictum "He who does not work shall not eat." The production levels of the controlled economy are applied throughout: fulfilment or surpassing of the "norm" determine what the employer gives in return-whether the worker is "free" or a slave in a camp. Thus "socialist competition" becomes the regulator of the standard of living for the whole people but graded in "freedom," as in servitude, according to certain prescriptions for different occupations. Nationalist Socialist Germany was a socialist state neither in the sense of the Soviet Union and its satellites nor in any other. It was a leadership state with hierarchical levels of authorizedsubleaderswho were always powerless before their superordinates but had full authority over their subordinates. This "leader principle" was applied to the concentration camp as well. Here, precisely because it was a closed society, this principle could develop in its purest form, side by side with the SS hierarchy it mirrored. The "positive" levels of authority as formed by the SS in freedom were carried over to the "negative" levels of the enslaved prisoners. Their existence was less defined in terms of their output of work than by the degree of delegated power. Although subtypes of the concentration camp did exist, representingthree grades according to the potential length of life of victims ([1] Sachsenhausen, [2] Buchenwald, and [3] Mauthausen), they were only taking discernible form at the time of the collapse of Germany. What was more important was that the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" (a phrase standing for the extirpation of the Jewish people) could be accomplished without interference only in the concentration camps by deceiving

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both the victims and the rest of the world with the credible assumptionthat they were labor camps. Three types of camps were used to enslave or kill Jews: the "enforced ghetto" (a variation of the concentration camp, the Zwangsghetto); the regular concentration camp, where the Jews were the most oppressedgroup; and the annihilation camps (Vernicltungslager), which took two forms-the actual death camp, where almost everybody was killed upon arrival, and the attrition camp, where most persons died after a very short time from the consequences of extreme labor and abuse. This treatment of the Jews makes the SS concentrationcamp a unique and incomparable institution within the general framework of slavery. Nowhere else has cold calculation, as known in the similar camp economy of the Soviets, been coupled so inseparably with such passionate hatred, a phenomenon encountered often in the history of mankind but probably never before intentionally institutionalized. This lent to the cruelty and terror usually-but not always-associated with slavery something uncanny, something that opened an abyss never dreamed of before. The SS leased its slaves to capitalist entrepreneurs, but only the state or "socialized" corporations are permitted to be employers in Russia. In both countries, however, the authorizedslave-keepersmade their victims work on their own account and gained profits by leasing them to other parties. This became very important to the power of the police. It is obvious that for the establishment and maintenanceof the concentrationcamp only the police were suitable, and indeed only a special kind of police, one already organized to ferret out internal enemies of the regime. Concentration of power in a complex police system is part of totalitarianism. In Germany and Russia that police system was more and more organized like an army and often had authority over other military or civil organizations. The more people the police took under its absolute control, the more powerful it became.

Soon it had to consider the profitable utilization of the prisoners; it had to find replacements when their number threatened to decrease as a result of their miserable living conditions. Thus whole armies of prisoners were shut up for the most spurious reasons. The struggle against enemies of the regime became mere pretense. The security of the state had long ceased to be threatened. The only interest was to find new victims. In this way, the totalitarian secret police became the greatest slavekeeper of all times. Thus one of the functions of power was transferred to the economic sector. Now, that power over human beings is certainly not primarily determined by or solely dependent on the economic basis of a given social order. But we must recognize, without subscribing otherwise to Marxist ideas, that, as soon as power is based on the oppression as well as exploitation of men by other men, then it can no longer be isolated from its economic implications. The more workers the police were able to draw away from other employers, the more they could succeed in monopolizing the economic forces of the country and thus gain in political power. Although we still know too little about the development of economic relations between the Soviet secret police and other government institutions, it seems that in Russia struggles for power within the police organization itself and against and among other organizations of party and government have for decades focused on the exploitation of slaves and the continuation of an economy based on slavery. The development of the concentration camp and the restorationof slavery did not arise from an original intent to exploit (as later became necessary) unfree men by an administrative act or from the conscious purpose of enslaving a whole group. At first, and then repeatedly, whenever the safety, the "permanent revolution" of the one and only "right" regime, demanded it, one simply rendered harmless real or possible enemies and then, finally, representa-

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tives of any supposed opposition group. They were to be broken, cut off as independent, thinking personalities, and the still free population warned through anxiety and insecurity against all resistance or even against acts of mental maturity, for these were crimes which would be ruthlessly prosecuted. Thus the beginning of the concentration camp is marked by terror, one of the essential bases of totalitarianism.It was decisive for the evolution of the concentration camp that the struggle against supposed enemies was impossible by ordinary procedure even if exercised by a judicial apparatus pledged to the regime-impossible in a formal sense and because of the great numberof persons affected. They could not be tried for any objective offense by a jurisdictionunconcernedwith the discovery of truth, even though the procedure itself was based on morally untenable legislation. Therefore, common jurisdiction had to be replaced by decreed secret proceedings as they had been institutionalized in Russia in the thirties on the occasion of the reputed "purges,"or, like the acts of violence commonly committed by the secret police in Germany, without any pretense to legal proceedings. If a man was not a criminal according to "objective" criteria, and thus could not be tried by an ordinary court or in any other way, then he could not be put into the traditional institutions of punishment. Different accommodationshad to be chosen; the concentration camp offered itself as the appropriate expedient whose function for the pre-totalitarian period has been indicated above. Even the earlier concentration camp had not been established by legal enactment but was created by executive offices and thus was far removed from legislative and public control. Imprisonment became an administrative act of violence whose only justification consisted in an actual or alleged emergency which, once overcome, was to terminate the illegal deprivation of freedom. We must note here another social-historical circumstance with relation to the

brutality of the concentration camp: the depersonalization of man, his transformation from a group-anchored individuality to an anonymous particle of mass. The terrifying union of brutality and leveling (Vermassung) corresponds to a mentality which no longer accords intrinsic value to the fellow man. The fellow man is reduced to a mere object whose value is determined only by the arbitrariness and interest of his oppressor. Brutality has always been associated with oppression, but depersonalization is a more recent phenomenonwhich emerges only in the critical periods of highly developed cultures, since it presupposes individuation as a step above the collective consciousness of early communities. The concentration camp is not possible without brutality and leveling; only with their combined systematic impact can the concentration camp exist. If cruelty is a mental attitude with which society is often burdened and which sometimes determines the very social existence of a community, so are depersonalization and its modern expression-reduction to a mass-essentially social phenomena. Strictly speaking, the mass is a fiction, since no individual is a memberof the mass or of any one mass but is always an individual in a group of men which is part of a society and a community. But "mass" can be defined in the following way: mass is the elimination of personality involving any number of persons. For a people to be a mass, two things are required: men who renounce claim to personality and men who are forced to tolerate not being recognized as individuals. If a people, or a large percentage of them, degrade themselves to the point of becoming a mass, then one of the most important requirements is met for subjecting them to a totalitarian regime. (They may even be reluctant, although, unfortunately, they are often only too willing.) The subjection is completed in the concentration camp, especially among those reluctant individuals who resist the concomitants of Gleickschaltung (i.e., the process of "political co-ordi-

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nation" or compliance with the "party line"). What brutality cannot accomplish either alone or together with oppression and slavery is obtained when these elements are combined with depersonalization, climaxing in the reduction of people to mass. Only this makes the concentration camp the place of utter human degradation. How do these elements work for the society to which the concentration camp belongs? How do they operate in the internal society of the concentration camp itself?

These questions must be considered under the aspects mentioned earlier and then drawn together. This is the task of sociology in this field. Since concentrationcamps still exist among the primary dangers of contemporary life, the pursuit of all relevant problems should not be delayed. An adequate insight into these problems not only from a scientific but also from a political and pedagogic viewpoint is of utmost importance to humanity.
LONDON, ENGLAND

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