Imre Kertész, Language in Exile, A speech given at the Renaissance-Theatre in Berlin, 2000

After all, Auschwitz did not happen in a vacuum, but in the midst of Western culture and civilisation, a civilisation which has survived Auschwitz like those tens or a hundred thousand women and men, scattered today across the whole world, who saw the flames of crematoria and inhaled the stench of burning bodies. Flames which consumed everything we had considered to be European values – and this ethical zero point, the only point in that moral and spiritual darkness one could start from all over again, is that which caused the light to be extinguished: the Holocaust.

Imre Kertész, Who Owns Auschwitz?, Die Zeit”, 1998, translated by John McKay, published in: „The Yale Journal of Criticism”, Volume 14, Number 1, Spring 2001, pp. 267-272:

Holocaust survivors will have to face the facts: as they grow weaker with age, Auschwitz is slipping out of their hands. But to whom will it belong? Obviously, to the next generation, and to the one after that—as long as they continue to lay claim to it, of course.”

The concentration camp is imaginable only and exclusively as literature, never as reality.”

A Holocaust conformism has arisen, along with a Holocaust sentimentalism, a Holocaust canon, and a system of Holocaust taboos together with the ceremonial discourse that goes with it; Holocaust products for Holocaust consumers have been developed. Auschwitz-lies have appeared, and the figure of the Auschwitz con-man has come into being.”

Janusz Opryński, The Point Zero: The Kindly Ones performance program (translated by Marek Kaźmierski):

The Holocaust in Polish Theatre by Grzegorz Niziołek is a work aimed mainly at people who are trying to deal with the theme of the Holocaust in theatre. Without this publication we cannot enter into this field of analysis. Niziołek has created a landmark work, showing how Polish theatre has dealt with the subject of the Holocaust. It analyses and reinterprets many important and less important works on the theme, such as Samson by Wajda. The author says, for example, that the topic of the Holocaust was concealed within some plays, because it was badly received by critics. It also talks about the powerful ways the subject can entrap. The first such trap is the use of the very word “Holocaust”, which forces us to think of righteous sacrifice, and the perpetrator thus becomes a sort of chaplain. Today, it is suggested we should rather use the name “Shoah.” Another question is the conflict over the topic of the Holocaust – how to go about describing it?

Working on a new play, I have to know this dialogue and this conflict. This is an incredibly sensitive subject; one we don’t quite know how to deal with.

I hope that our new show is part of this topic. We try to avoid traps which await us there through a careful reading of Nizołek’s book.

Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989, p. 25

They are all arguments in favour of assimilating the lessons of the Holocaust in the mainstream of our theory of modernity and of the civilizing process and its effects. They all proceed from the conviction that the experience of the Holocaust contains crucial information about the society of which we are members.

Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989, p. 213.

Modern genocide is genocide with a purpose. Getting rid of the adversary is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end: a necessity that stems from the ultimate objective, a step that one has to take if one wants ever to reach the end of the road. The end itself is a grand vision of a better, and radically different, society. Modern genocide is an element of social engineering, meant to bring about a social order conforming to the design of the perfect society.

Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989, p. 260.

Modernity, as we remember, is an age of artificial order and of grand societal designs, the era of planners, visionaries, and – more generally – ‘gardeners’ who treat society as a virgin plot of land to be expertly designed and then cultivated and doctored to keep to the designed form.

John P. Sabini & Mary Silver, ‘Destroying the Innocent with a Clear Conscience: A Sociopsychology of the Holocaust’, in Survivors, Victims, and Perpetrators: Essays in the Nazi Holocaust, ed. Joel E. Dinsdale, Washington: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, 1980, p. 329–30.

Thorough, comprehensive, exhaustive murder required the replacement of the mob with a bureaucracy, the replacement of shared rage with obedience to authority. The requisite bureaucracy would be effective whether manned by extreme or tepid anti-Semites, considerably broadening the pool of potential recruits; it would govern the actions of its members not by arousing passions but by organizing routines; it would only make distinctions it was designed to make, not those its members might be moved to make, say, between children and adults, scholar and thief, innocent and guilty; it would be responsive to the will of the ultimate authority through a hierarchy of responsibility – whatever that will might be.