Political Survivors: The Resistance, the Cold War, and the Fight against Concentration Camps after 1945 (Hardback)Emma Kuby (author)
- Coming soon
In 1949, as Cold War tensions in Europe mounted, French intellectual and former Buchenwald inmate David Rousset called upon fellow concentration camp survivors to denounce the Soviet Gulag as a "hallucinatory repetition" of Nazi Germany's most terrible crime. In Political Survivors, Emma Kuby tells the riveting story of what followed his appeal, as prominent members of the wartime Resistance from throughout Western Europe united to campaign against the continued existence of inhumane internment systems around the world. The International Commission against the Concentration Camp Regime brought together those originally deported for acts of anti-Nazi political activity who believed that their unlikely survival incurred a duty to bear witness for other victims. Over the course of the next decade, these pioneering activists crusaded to expose political imprisonment, forced labor, and other crimes against humanity in Franco's Spain, Maoist China, French Algeria, and beyond.
Until now, the CIA's secret funding of Rousset's movement has remained in the shadows. Kuby reveals this clandestine arrangement between European camp survivors and American intelligence agents. She also brings to light how Jewish Holocaust victims were systematically excluded from Commission membership - a choice that fueled the group's rise, but also helped lead to its premature downfall. The history that she unearths provides a striking new vision of how wartime memory shaped European intellectual life and ideological struggle after 1945, showing that the key lessons Western Europeans drew from the war centered on "the camp," imagined first and foremost as a site of political repression rather than ethnic genocide. Political Survivors argues that Cold War dogma and acrimony, tied to a distorted understanding of WWII's chief atrocities, overshadowed the humanitarian possibilities of the nascent anti-concentration camp movement as Europe confronted the violent decolonizing struggles of the 1950s.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 312
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
"Political Survivors illuminates the failed dream of ending concentration camps around the globe. Like an investigative journalist, Emma Kuby reveals how Cold War intrigue shaped the International Commission Against the Concentration Camp Regime, self-appointed to give voice to victims of state atrocity. She uncovers the moving story of the personal disagreements and significant accomplishments that remain part of its legacy."-- Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night
"Political Survivors is a breakthrough in the study of public ethics in the twentieth century. Kuby recovers the history of the French and transnational movement of victims of concentration camps against the repetition of similar horrors, showing how our world of human rights and Holocaust memory could have been very different. A masterful achievement."-- Samuel Moyn, author of Not Enough
"Brilliant and original, Political Survivors combines a new, more probing form of political history with an innovative, more populist kind of intellectual history. From Auschwitz to Algeria, from national victimhood in the Occupation to national atrocity in Algeria, Kuby re-thinks the larger arc of French history in the postwar period."-- Mary Louise Roberts, author of What Soldiers Do