Des Considrations inactuelles au coeur de l'Occupation: Le Cogito rebours d'Hlne Berr Academic Article uri icon


  • Written in Paris during the darkest moments of the German Occupation, but only published in 2008, Helene Berr's Journal was immediately hailed for its dramatic testimony and striking insights. With precision and lucidity, the young Jewish student at the Sorbonne records the human tragedies unfolding all around her in the wake of the Holocaust, while at the same time reviewing her own manner of experiencing these traumatic events through her personal reflections and emotions. The present article analyses her astute and poignant observations in the light of Emmanuel Levinas's notion of the ethically grounded subject. Beyond its documentary value, Helene Berr's Journal thus takes on significant philosophical dimensions. At the same time, Levinas's concept of the Other's incursion into the realm of the self proves to be firmly anchored in the firsthand experience of the twentieth century's greatest historical catastrophe. 2010 Association for the Study of Modern & Contemporary France.

published proceedings

  • Modern & Contemporary France

author list (cited authors)

  • Bracher, N.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Bracher, Nathan

publication date

  • January 2010