At the Mind's Limit by Jean Amery: Book Report

2302 Words Nov 6th, 2011 10 Pages
Joseph Chaput
Book Report I
At The Mind’s Limit:
Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities
By Jean Amery “At The Mind’s Limit” is a series of essays written by Jean Amery, a German born Jew who survived the holocaust, who gives the reader a very interesting perspective into the mind of a persecuted Jew from 1935 forward. Amery does not consider himself a religious Jew or one who follows any Jewish traditions. In fact, he did not know that Yiddish was a language until he was 18. So Amery describes the events leading up to and following the holocaust through the eyes of an “intellectual” and tries to find out whether being an “intellectual” helped or hindered his mental and spiritual capacity as he experienced
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It was challenging to try to find security in being a part of the Jewish community when there was not only the fear of persecution but also sometimes a lack of enthusiasm for other Jews to try and come together when they were faced with their own problems. These people who were not only cast out of their homeland, but also had to hide their cultural background in order to survive, truly know what it means to be homeless. They were not well received in the countries they immigrated to neither by native Jews nor non-Jews. They did not feel help from anyone in the world and therefore felt no sense of security. Amery says that “Genuine homesickness” was when he looked back at his life before any of this had happened and felt self-contempt and his hatred for his loss of self. These emotions are intensified when “Traditional homesickness” or nostalgia for the way things were kicks in, causing Amery to hate himself more for wanted to be back in the land that turned against him. He goes on to claim that people need a sense of home, and that without a sense of home people age very poorly. He says that young men are always seeing themselves as men of the future, while old men see themselves as what they were in the past. One grows with his “home” and needs that growth in order to look back on his life and be satisfied with being a man of the past. The fifth section, Resentment, discusses

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