This article considers the Nazi concentration camps as sites of an epistemological collision between monolingualism and multilinguality—one that Holocaust studies has not come to full conceptual terms with. Gramling argues that this collision offers a primary, though undertheorized, matrix for rethinking the “incomprehensible” in Holocaust representations along a spectrum of genres from memoir and poetry to documentary history. In the wake of emerging research on the “language situation” in the camps, Gramling explores texts that reanimate the multiple-language milieus of camp life, which—irreproducible for uninitiated outsiders and renationalized postwar readerships—were cleansed and redacted throughout the late 1940s and 1950s to fit the monolingual norms of national reconstitution. Gramling turns to Primo Levi's writings in The Truce for traces of this multiple-language hypotext, the irreproducible “other space” of linguistic estrangement that the Third Reich and its concentration camp system engineered.

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