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Atomized and Alienated Atomized and Alienated The Place of This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen in Hannah Arendts Totalitarian Model In Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt outlines the fundamental qualities that characterize and allow the rise of a totalitarian regime From the outset the atomization of the masses and their subsequent alienation provide the foundation for the construction of the regime This atomization and alienation find subtle but powerful expression in Tadeusz Borowskis This way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen In his stories of Auschwitz Borowski offers an insight into the Nazi concentration camp and in doing so he depicts the manipulation of the captives into assuming the role of the oppressor towards their fellow oppressed The use of captives to work for the SS in maintaining the camps efficiency demonstrates the levels of confusion alienation and atomization possible under a totalitarian regime Fear through terror serves as an expedient means of achieving atomization in order to maintain the totalitarian state Arendt describes the atomization in Soviet society by referring to the purges and the effect they have on society The consequence of the simple and ingenious device of guilt by association is that as soon as a man is accused his former friends are transformed immediately into his bitterest enemies in order to save their own skins they volunteer information and rush in with denunciations to corroborate the nonexistent evidence against him this obviously is the only way to prove their own trustworthiness Arendt 21 A similar situation is depicted in Borowskis writings in the sense that captives were convinced by fear and the threat of their own deaths into enforcing the will of their captors This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen and A Day at Harmenz depict two symptoms of the fear-induced isolation and alienation exhibited by the prisoners a loathing for their fellows especially those whom the captives escort to their deaths
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