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The Verity of Fear and Pain - Essay Example

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The Verity of Fear and Pain

He believed that his time in Auschwitz was a part of life, albeit one that he needed to put behind him.
The author makes a valiant effort to look at a torture victim through the eyes of a person who is perpetrating the torture. He finds that there is nothing else there other than an all-consuming urge to subjugate a fellow human being completely, taking control of the very life force of another. The line that is to be analyzed is: "But in addition they tortured with the good conscience of depravity" (Amery, 1980). This is a clear indication of the fact that the captors were self-righteous about their acts of torture and had no doubts in their minds that they were completely in line with the tenets of Fascism - unfortunately, something that they were extremely proud of.
Jean Amery being a member of a partisan anti-Gestapo group was a prime catch for Hitler's men. He was found with incriminating evidence that left no doubt in the minds of the captors about his political affinities. When he was finally brought to Breedonk, Amery had absolutely no illusions about what the Gestapo could do - but then, nothing really prepares you for the actual act of torture. It was at Breedonk that he actually understood the meaning of the word torture, which originated from the French word: torquere, which means 'to twist'. Left hanging by his captors, his arms dislocated, he lost all sense of reality, the pain that he felt could not be described at all. It was indeed quite difficult to quantify the level of pain that he felt at the hands of his torturers.

The psyche of a torturer:
To begin with, there is no marked difference in the behavior exhibited by a Nazi torturer and another of any other organization. The psychological changes that occur in the minds of a torturer are impacted by various factors. Primarily, it is the belief he has in the cause that he is either fighting for or believes in. When there is no doubt at all in his mind that his cause is a noble one he believes that anybody who does not share his views needs to be brought around to his way of thinking, preferably by force. A study done by American psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo reveals how people who are otherwise of fairly good and peaceable nature can turn violent, dominating and oppressive, when playing the roles of a subjugator. The study conducted at Stanford University had two groups of people who were called upon to play two roles - guards and prisoners. It was found that the 'guards' when dressed as guards - that is de-individuated - behaved in an excessively brutal manner (Zimbardo et al, 1973). A number of other studies support these general findings - that anonymity allows an increase in aggressive antisocial behavior.

These people are completely convinced that their role as oppressor is one that has to be played out with perfection, merely because it is what is expected of them at that particular point in time. They are unable to even think of the consequences or the sufferings that need to be endured by their victims. There is almost a missionary zeal in their performances as torturers as they cease to believe in the wrongness of the acts that they choose to commit. In the case of Amery's torture, they feel justified in their act mainly because they have apprehended a person who has political leanings that are totally out of sync with theirs. There is no doubt ...Show more


In order to examine the extent of pain or fear felt by a survivor of any of the Nazi concentration camps, it is essential to understand the political clime in which the events took place. Along with this, what is required is a delving into the psyche of not just the person who suffers the pain, but the psyche of those who are inflicting it…
Author : gus19
The Verity of Fear and Pain essay example
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