What happens to language in violent times

Intriguing interview from the French “life of Ideas” website English version


“As Friedländer notes in The Years of Extermination, Hitler lost the war against the Allied forces but not the one he unleashed against the Jews. Within a few years, Nazism had succeeded in destroying a civilisation, a heritage, a language. The executioners spoke German but they also invented a whole propaganda lexicon, complete with coded language and circumlocutions designed to conceal the extermination scheme. Conversely, in the face of imminent destruction, the victims accumulated testimonies. Are there such things as languages of life and languages of death? Dialogue between a historian and his translator.”


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