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The Holocaust, the Human Corpse and the Pursuit of Utter Oblivion

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Filotheos-Fotios Maroudas (http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2583-0089)
Filotheos-Fotios Maroudas


The purpose of this article is to show that the current incineration techniques of corpses are directly related to the Holocaust itself and its purposes. It is the same technique which, in the inhuman years of Nazi atrocities, was developed to be applied massively against the Jewish people and the other groups, because as a method it served and expressed both politically and ideologically the plan of a “final solution:” the final “dis-solution,” the disappearance of the human body even as a residue, because the human body, even as a corpse, still retains identity and value. The findings of this study suggest a different analysis of the Nazis’ choice to eliminate the corpses of the Jews, while, at the same time, exploring the original approach offered here helps to understand better the value that the human corpse retains. Many social and religious groups that currently refuse to accept this way of managing human corpses become more understandable in their choice not to accept what nature itself denies but modern technique imposes, namely perfect oblivion, extinction of the corpse. Initially, it is presented in historical and intercultural terms in which ways human societies mainly behave towards the human corpse along with the most prevalent funeral burial customs. Subsequently, the semiology of the human corpse is evaluated in terms of philosophical aesthetics and is included in the corresponding aesthetic categories. Finally, this work airs and analyzes new bioethical issues which arise considering this ever-increasing tendency towards the practice of those responsible for the Holocaust, namely the disappearance of the human corpse.


Holocaust; utter oblivion; human corpse; living bones; incineration; pulverizing; decomposition; annihilation; ugliness; tragedy; sublime

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