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Nazis in Auschwitz: Reflections on Anglophone Perpetrator Fiction

Pettitt, Joanne (2023) Nazis in Auschwitz: Reflections on Anglophone Perpetrator Fiction. Humanities, 12 (3). Article Number 47. ISSN 2076-0787. (doi:10.3390/h12030047) (KAR id:101984)


This article considers the various ways in which the topographies of Auschwitz are used as a symbolic means of articulating particular kinds of guilt in fiction relating to the Holocaust. To do this, I analyse three primary examples: John Donoghue’s The Death’s Head Chess Club (2015), Martin Amis’ The Zone of Interest (2014), and Dalton Trumbo’s unfinished novel, Night of the Aurochs (1979). These texts, I argue, employ the complex spatial dynamics of the site in order to address important questions of power, agency, and moral ambiguity. More specifically, such imagery reveals a spectrum of complicity that, without exonerating those responsible for the genocide, suggests the need for a more nuanced understanding of the Holocaust and those that were responsible for its implementation.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3390/h12030047
Uncontrolled keywords: perpetrator, Donoghue, Trumbo, Auschwitz, Holocaust, Amis, Nazis
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2023 10:55 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 04:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Pettitt, Joanne.

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