Tag Archives: Terrence Des Pres

A Short History of Dehumanization Through Defecation

Everyone Poops, but some poopers are more privileged than others.
Everyone Poops, but some poopers are more privileged than others.
Human shit has a number of remarkable properties. First of all, every human produces shit. Secondly, every fully autonomous human handles the disposal of their own shit. In fact, properly disposing of one’s own shit is a necessary condition for being considered a fully autonomous human being. Thus it is possible to efficiently and completely dehumanize people by preventing them from dealing competently with their shit.

Polish authorities in 1947 explaining to Rudolph H&oumlaut;ss, erstwhile commandant of Auschwitz, that it's not OK to force people to live in their own shit in order to facilitate genocide
Polish authorities in 1947 explaining to Rudolph Höss, erstwhile commandant of Auschwitz, that it’s not OK to force people to live in their own shit in order to facilitate genocide
This principle was grasped early on by the National Socialist founders of the infamous complex of concentration camps known collectively as Auschwitz,1 where the subhuman (Jews, Russians, etc.) inmates were allotted only 0.2 square feet of toilet space, less than one twelfth the amount allocated for ordinary criminal prisoners. Historian Robert-Jan Van Pelt summarizes the view of historian Terrence Des Pres that design choices like this, which resulted in every surface in the camps including human flesh, being covered with shit, were “the result of a deliberate policy to destroy the last vestiges of the prisoners’ sense of self-worth. It was not enough just to kill the prisoners. They had to be totally broken first.2 As Van Pelt summarizes, “with the latrines submerged in excrement, with very little water to be had at very few points, and with mud all around, what remained was an inmate population without the means to preserve any outward sign of human dignity.”2

It’s not discussed in the article we’re citing, but it’s surely plausible that such degradation made it easier for the SS to go about their unholy work of genocide. No matter how cruel the project, the guards carrying it out were still human beings, and is it not easier to send millions of people to their deaths if they’re smeared with their own shit and therefore, at least in that one sense, not fully human? Or to move them away from their native land so that you and your totalitarian buddies can move in? This principle has been rediscovered throughout history by those who have need of such a tool.

Steve Seyler, thinking deep thoughts about deep shit and who ultimately ends up in it
Steve Seyler, thinking deep thoughts about deep shit and who ultimately ends up in it

Which brings us back around to Steve Seyler, bully boy bossman of the BID security patrols and Reinhard Heydrich of the HPOA’s campaign to ethnically cleanse Hollywood of its homeless untermenschen.
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