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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Destruction of Individuality and Massification of Bodies in the Concentration Camp Mauthausen: a Study on the SS Photographic Ar

di Ilsen About
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 20 (2005), p. 75

The SS photographies produced in the concentration camp of Mauthausen have been saved in exceptionnal circounstances by a group of spanish republicans inmates. By a selection of this corpus, this study focus on the domination practices inside the camp and on the SS photographer’s point of view on the groups of inmates. In fact, the analyse of the photographical series shows how the camera functions during the collective humiliations and tortures. These images of the “mass society”, described by the sociology of the camps (Arendt, Sofsky), can be used for the description of a double process, the destruction of individuals and the massification of bodies, which lead to the optical effacement of the individuals and their human singularity in national-socialist’s concentration camps system.