The search for words to convey the deathlife that was Auschwitz turns up in witness testimony, memoir, and fiction, as all three conspire to find a language appropriate to an experience that is utterly alien to most audiences and that is not based on research from written documents. Historians are slowly coming to agree that survivor accounts are a crucial source of evidence for appreciating the unorthodox and unprecedented moral universe of the Holocaust. Writers as diverse as Charlotte Delbo, Imre Kertész, Arnošt Lustig, and Aharon Appelfeld find ways of stripping a rhetoric of meaning from the chaos of mass murder to illuminate, explicitly and implicitly, the horrors that lay at the heart of the Holocaust universe.

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