Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jared Poley - Chair

Second Advisor

Hugh Hudson

Third Advisor

Alexandra Garbarini


This thesis examines the way genocide leaves marks in the writings of targeted people. It posits not only that these marks exist, but also that they indicate a type of psychological resistance. By focusing on the ways Holocaust diarists depicted Nazi perpetrators, and by concentrating on the ways language was used to distance the victim from the perpetrator, it is possible to see how Jewish diarists were engaged in alternate and subtle, but nevertheless important, forms of resistance to genocide. The thesis suggest this resistance on the part of victims is similar in many ways to well-known distancing mechanisms employed by perpetrators and that this evidence points to a “crisis of imagination” – for victims and perpetrators alike – in which the capability to envision negation and death, and to identify with the “Other” is detrimental to self-preservation.


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