Thursday, 12 April 2012

Self-Assertion of an English Garden (After-Life Topoi of Nazi Desire) Chapter 3

1.     Il faut cultiver notre jardin   
2.     Pêcheurs de lune
3.     Iterability of the Nazi State (Economy of Genocide)
4.     Growth (and Form/Morphe)
5.     Decay
6.     Pompes Funèbres
6.1.  Type (Model, Example, Tupos)
6.2.  Usus Tyrannus (Interlude)
6.3.  The Ageing of a Note
7.      Critique of Beginnings
8.      Demonology of Defeat 

3.  Iterability of the Nazi State (Economy of Genocide)

Derrida’s arguments in “Force of Law” partake of the same autarchic self-regurgitating logic as the Nazi extermination economy and management (oikonomia).  “(…) the tongue that swallows itself and eats itself (…) that also vomits a natural remain(s)—its own—(…)” (Jacques Derrida, Glas, University of Nebraska Press, 1986 p. 9)

The acts of extermination or genocide were a major constituent part of German ‘Keynesianism’ or ‘autarchy’ during the Nazi epoch.
As Hilberg shows, wealth expropriated from the Jewish victims was used to finance the Holocaust, giving a continuous lavish boost (subsidy) to the general Nazi state economy.  Bulk train fares for example to Treblinka, Sobibor or Auschwitz were paid directly out of the proceeds of “arianized” property of the victims.  The Reichsbahn granted Eichmann’s department – the Gestapo – special excursion rates for the “death trains”.  Children under ten went half-fare, those under the age of four travelled free.  

“Raul Hilberg:
Das war das Prinzip der Selbstfinanzierung.
Die SS oder die Wehrmacht konfiszierten jüdisches Vermögen
Und finanzierten mit den Bankdepots die Transporte.

Claude Lanzmann:
Die Juden zahlten selbst für ihren Tod!

Raul Hilberg:
Genau.  Vergessen Sie nicht:
Es gab keine Etat für die Ausrottung.
[“Raul Hilberg:
That was the principle of self-financing.
The SS or the Wehrmacht confiscated Jewish property
And financed the transports with their bank deposits.

Claude Lanzmann:
The Jews paid for their own death!

Raul Hilberg:
Exactly.  Don’t forget there was no budget for extermination.”

(Claude Lanzmann, Shoah, Düsseldorf, 1986, p. 192)]

All the transport transactions were arranged through the normal official travel agency, the same one that arranged holidays for the German Volk.  Hilberg notes how the entire business was conducted at a very low level of secrecy; the “Fahrplananordnung” (train schedule order) for the “Sonderzüge” (special trains) was marked only with “Nur für den Dienstgebrauch.” (only for service use) – the methods of camouflaging were minimal - just doing – but not naming it, no detailed instructions.  The documents had to pass through many hands – the trains on their long journeys went through numerous train stations in different countries.

“Aber der Schlüssel des ganzen Verfahrens war ja,
psychologisch gesehen, daß das, was gerade geschah,
nie ausdrücklich benannt wurde.
Nichts sagen, die Dinge tun.
Sie nicht beschreiben.”
[“The key to the whole procedure was exactly,
regarded psychologically, whatever was directly happening,
would never be explicitly named. 
Say nothing, do the things.

Don't describe them.
(ibid., p. 187)]

It is striking to note a paradox of sorts, how the Nazi entity, although supposedly an extreme dictatorship (one of the “great totalitarian states of the twentieth century” according to Agamben in Homo Sacer), depended so consistently in its ‘administration’ on the principle and reality of ‘self-governance’.  The total state was not total at all – but comprised of numerous self-governing bodies. Heidegger conveys in his Rektoratsrede the same transcendent Nazi spirit of “self-assertion” and “self-administration” of the German university that reappears in Eichmann’s organization of “self-financed” genocide, the logic of which also compels him and his men to install a ‘self-administration’ in the ‘ghetto’ Theresienstadt and ghettos elsewhere –run by self-administering Elders and their ‘employees’ with their own autonomous share of guilt.  As minister of armaments Albert Speer introduced the practice of “self-responsible” autonomous factories.  In his memoir of his discordant rivalry with the SS Der Sklaven-Staat Speer refers to the “SS and self-responsible (selbstverantwortliche) industry”.
As one knows – the self-responsible industry of the SS operated within the self-administrating slave and death camps – two principles of self-governance coincided there.  It would seem that alongside the juridical semi-decorative construction - “Führer commands have force of law” (Führerwörter haben Gesetzeskraft) – there was another practical real ‘oikonomia’ in which interdependent self-governing bodies of all kinds vied with each other for prestige and the greatest share of the spoils – and the almost unspoken unthought idea/chance of succession – the post-Führer state.  The SS for instance at its height was on its way to becoming a state within the state.  Hence to speak of a purified sphere of absolute sovereignty of the Führer communicating immediately with ‘bare life’ in the Nazi entity as Agamben does merely perpetuates legal myths and historical fiction.

The principle of “self-assertion” and “self-administration” informed the multiplicity of social-political bodies of the state whether it was the German university or the German death camp.  There were no zones of exclusion or indistinction nor exception in which the acts of extermination took place, a quasi ‘second life’ – rather an economy of ‘forms of life’ hastily improvised in the attempt to unify and ‘concentrate’ all aspects of the Nazi conglomerate. (Speer deplores the ‘dilettantism’ especially of the ‘alte Kämpfer’ (old fighters) of the Nazi Party and the SS.)
The self-asserting, self-administering German university is a ‘nomos’ for the camp as much as the camp is a ‘nomos’ for the university.  Perhaps this is what Deleuze and Guattari mean when they referred to Nazi Germany as a “minimal state” (see Thousand Plateaus).  Franz Neumann in his classic study of the Nazi Behemoth posed the question if it were a state at all.  The Nazi ‘state’ (or non-state) was modelled not on political legal constructions but on the economic-penal-military form of the concentration camp (Lager), another word for compound or ‘military-industrial colony’.  In the same way its precursor – the Prussian state – was an elaborate outgrowth of the garrison or bivouac.  Both Prussia and Nazi Germany reflected a traditional German national-economic discourse of autarchy with roots at least as old as the ancient Germanic “Wehrsiedlung” (defence colony) and the Baltic and east colonisation of the Order of Teutonic knights during the Middle Ages.  The Order-State was one of the geopolitical foundations of the later Prussian state.  The national-economic discourse of autarchy found an early philosophical formalization in Fichte’s Der geschlossene Handelsstaat. (see Shannee Marks, Die Grenze der Schuld: soziologische Strukturen der faschistischen Ideologie, Opladen, 1987 – forthcoming in English as The Border of Guilt: Origins of Nazi Economics

Instinctively acting in the tradition of the ‘Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights or ‘Order-State’ (Deutschordensstaat), the agriculturalist Himmler, head of the SS and the German Police, was engaged in creating an autarchic SS economic empire strong enough so as to be independent of the state budget.  Commenting on these efforts, Hitler said affectionately, Himmler will someday be the greatest entrepreneur.  As Speer writes, Himmler’s economic activities, both driven and hindered by Hitler’s priority – the genocide of the Jews, were not just vital for the SS ‘self-asserted’ economy.  Hitler saw the conjectured SS autarchic empire, its independence from State and Party, as the body of his succession – regardless of whatever forces would be in control of the state in that nebulous hardly imaginable time after his ‘departure’.  “Im Frühjahr 1944 stimmte Hitler Himmlers Vorschlag zu, einen SS-eigenen Wirtschaftskonzern aufzubauen, um die SS für immer vom Staatshaushalt unabhängig zu machen.(…)Für den Fall eines Nachfolgers, der den Staatshaushalt als Instrument zur Beschneidung der Macht von SS und Gestapo zu benutzen suchte, wollte er (Hitler) eine Geldquelle schaffen, die der SS ihren eigenen Etat sicherte.
[“In the spring of 1944 Hitler agreed to Himmler’s proposal to establish an SS owned economic corporation, in order to make the SS forever independent of the state budget. (…) For the case of a successor, who would use the state budget as an instrument to trim the power of the SS and Gestapo, he (Hitler) wanted to create a source of finance that would secure for the SS a budget of its own.”, (Albert Speer, Der Sklaven Staat, Stuttgart, 1981, p. 17)]

As a more conventional ‘statist’ Speer disapproved of Hitler’s habitual way of ‘permanently cultivating opposing forces’ that would eventually in a ‘remote future’ be pitted against one another.  For Speer this was an “essentially state-negating theory of independent ruling powers” (“jene eigentlich staatsverneinende Theorie eigenständiger Herrschaftsgewalten”, Speer, ibid., p. 18).

The Auschwitz complex itself, part of the coming SS empire, had almost the dimensions of a small city - housing the most important German heavy industrial production lines with quarters for non-prisoner employees and nearby resort facilities for the SS at Solahuette.  Thus the third thesis or provisional conclusion of Agamben’s study Homo Sacer – “3.  Today it is not the city but rather the camp that is the fundamental biopolitical paradigm of the West.” (Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford, 1998, p. 181) – has no meaning in the Nazi ‘state’ whence he derives this paradigm.  The camp is the city.  Does Agamben tacitly acknowledge this hybridic unity when he writes: “In the camps, city and house became indistinguishable (…)” (Homo Sacer, ibid., p. 188) – in other words polis and oikos?
[Or is Agamben’s use here of house – redolent also of language as Heidegger’s “house of being” – where the “human being” stands guard at the ‘clearing’ (Lichtung) – showing by his dwelling-guarding that he belongs to (is propriated by) the “truth of being” from whose “essence” he is “given” its truth?  The mood of the “house of being” is the same as the mood in the camp. (See Letter on Humanism)]  

If that was the case then – the Nazi camp qua camp defined as a “permanent state of exception” (Homo Sacer, ibid., p.175) can hardly be a biopolitical paradigm of today.  Such a contention is based on a misrepresentation of what the Nazi camp was in its own time.
Just as the ‘camp’ was not an exceptional space within the Nazi ‘state’ – so those who performed its multitude of tasks were themselves not exceptional – but ordinary.  As Raul Hilberg observes: “The German perpetrator was not a special kind of German… We know that the very nature of administrative planning, of the jurisdictional structure and the budgetary system precluded the special selection and special training of personnel.  Any member of the Order Police could be a guard at a ghetto or on a train.  Every lawyer in the Reich Security main Office was presumed to be suitable for leadership in the mobile killing units; every finance expert to the Economic-Administrative Main Office was considered a natural choice for service in a death camp.  In other words, all necessary operations were accomplished with whatever personnel were at hand.” (cited in Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Holocaust, Cambridge, 2005, p. 21)  The ‘camp’ was connected to all parts of German officialdom and unofficialdom in a loose and fluid way - not unlike the way “The Court” flows almost casually haphazardly through the social body of Kafka’s The Trial.
The painter Titorelli is living in his atelier, a squalid bare strangely overheated wooden room in a tenement house, only a dilapidated bedstead, a chair and an easel covered up with an old shirt as furniture.  The room has not been aired in a long time.  K. is sent to the painter by the “Fabrikant” (the industrialist) for some good advice about his case – the judges allow Titorelli to paint their portraits – and besides he is a “Vertrauensmann des Gerichts” (a trusted man of the court).  It is not an officially recognized position – but as K. remarks: “Now, often such unrecognized positions are more influential than the recognized ones.” (Franz Kafka, Der Prozess, Frankfurt, 1960, p. 109) 

The German people belonged to the camp just as the camp belonged to them – as its “destinal sending” of being (or Ereignis, “event of appropriation”), as a ‘nearness of being’, a “homeland” as in Heidegger’s reading of Hölderlin – something prior to and more fundamental than the ‘political’ – if anything at all the camp was the German people’s ‘bio-impolitics’ (see Esposito’s concept of the “impolitical” in his Communitas and Bíos especially regarding the question if Heidegger can be said to be a properly political thinker).
Agamben’s claim that “There is no return from the camps to classical politics” (Homo Sacer, ibid., p. 188) would be true in that sense – that “the camps” were not politics in the first place.

Agamben suggests such an interpretation of the historical Nazi/SS camp as something prior to or beyond the political when he draws attention to “the analogies between politics and the epochal situation of metaphysics.  Today bios lies in zoē exactly as essence, in the Heideggerian definition of Dasein, lies (liegt) in existence.” (Homo Sacer, ibid., p. 188)  “Today” in the dimensionality of being is always the same (day) – it does not mean progression – but pure immediate atemporal transcendence – leading not to but away from politics or action.  Agamben’s question is not – at the conclusion of Homo Sacer – of “bare life” as an “originary political element” – but following Heidegger’s view of Nazism as the continuity of Western metaphysics –he moves “beyond politics”, grafting the question of “bare life” (haplos) in the “camp” directly onto the (atemporal) history of being or “the task and enigma of Western metaphysics”. (ibid.)  Or as Lorenzo Chiesa observes: “(…) biopolitics is consequently nothing else than Agamben’s name for metaphysics as nihilism.” (“Giorgio Agamben’s Franciscan Ontology”, in Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano, ed., The Italian Difference, Melbourne, 2009, p. 151)
The “camp” is not a bio-political paradigm of the West but rather, in Agamben’s thinking, a metaphysical paradigm – an essential point in the unfolding of the history of being – the place where Heidegger’s dictum (‘essence lies in existence’) was manifest – the historical-ontological ‘neighbourhood’ “(…) where the human being whose ek-sistence consists in his dwelling in the nearness of being” was the “neighbour of being”. (Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism, translated by Frank A. Capuzzi, in Pathmarks, 1949, PDF online, p. 261)

But does the Nazi/SS camp properly serve its ontological function in Agamben’s metaphysical-political paradigm – the unfolding of the history of being?  Agamben’s initial question in Homo Sacer is: “In what way does bare life dwell in the polis?” from which he derives his basic premise, that politics is the only “truly fundamental structure of Western metaphysics (…)” (Homo Sacer, ibid. p. 8), assuming that in the polis the “living being” receives logos or language.  This would be the conventional view of political philosophy – not so unlike that of Hannah Arendt or Leo Strauss.  But the “camp” is admittedly not the polis – there is no “politicization” of bare life in the camp.  Nor does “living being” receive the gift of logos, nor the Heideggerian “house of being” which is language.  Something else goes on in the camp, which Agamben must exclude from the polis – rendering all distinctions or “thresholds” between private life (zoē) and political existence (bios) null and void – although he is not able to entirely forfeit the ‘classical’ terms.  And even though the “enigma of ontology” for him is now essentially synonymous in his terminology with “the horizon of the generalized biopolitics of Nazism – culminated in the extermination of the Jews.” (Chiesa, ibid. p. 154).  By associating polis and ‘the camp’ – his claim to have discovered in “politics” the fundamental structure of Western metaphysics collapses – just as ‘the political’ disappears into the metaphysical paradigm of Nazism.  

But even so bereft of ‘the political’, does the Nazi/SS camp properly serve its pure ontological function in Agamben’s non-political metaphysical paradigm – to be the location/spatiality of the unfolding of the history of Pure Being - interchangeably designated as on haplos or “bare life”, whose most perfect form in ‘the camp’ is, that almost mystical chimera of law and fact, the ‘Muselmann’?

The Lager or as it was called in the Nazi bureaucratic jargon – the Verlagerung – was part of a gigantic grandiose long term plan for the post-war or post “Endsieg” (final victory) colonisation of the East – directed by a special ministry – Ostministerium – but essentially under the auspices and ownership of the SS.
The ‘industrialised’ concentration camp was the hub of new urban settlements or one mode of forming colonies in the eastern conquered territories of the Nazi empire; a location where a multiplicity of functions could happen all at the same time and in the same place – industry manned by slave labour, military securing and policing of the territories, extermination of the Jewish population, although not before exploiting hundred thousands as qualified technical labourers, collecting and processing of their possessions and remains, so-called medical experimentation on Jewish inmates and other industrial-military scientific projects, alongside administration, villa and recreation areas for the command and civilian personnel.  

Dr Ing Kammler was Himmler’s deputy in charge of these transcontinental building projects – including plans for the construction of underwater armament factories and vast underground industrial complexes reminiscent of Grimm’s fairy tale “Das Fest der Unterirdischen” (The Festival of the Subterraneans).  “Unter Verwendung von Übersichtskarten stellte Kammler ein Bauprogramm von insgesamt 13 Milliarden Reichsmark auf.  Die von ihm gedachten riesigen Bauaufgaben waren aufgeteilt auf zwei große Gebiete: das zukünftige Reichsgebiet und den neuen Ostraum. (…)So geht aus diesem Bauprogramm hervor, daß das gesamte polnische Gebiet, die Tschechei, Skandinavien (nicht nur Norwegen) sowie die Niederlande dem Deutschen Reich einverleibt werden sollten. (...)Für diese “Großbaumaßnahmen der deutschen Polizei einschließlich der Friedensunterkünfte der Waffen-SS im Generalgouvernement, Protektorat, Skandinavien und der Niederlanden [werden] rund 7 Milliarden RM” benötigt.  Dazu hatte Kammler errechnet, dass “noch rund 6 Milliarden RM für Bauten der Waffen-SS, sowie der SS und Polizeistützpunkte im neuen Ostraum” verbraucht würden.  Dieser Ostraum sollte kolonialen Charakter tragen und sich bis zum Ural, an die Wolga und bis Baku am Kaspischen Meer erstrecken.” 
[“Using outline maps Kammler drew up a building program of 13 billion Reichsmark in total.  The huge building projects he conceived were divided between two great territories: the future territory of the Reich and the new Eastern Space. (…) According to this building program, the entire Polish territory, Czech, Scandinavia (not just Norway) as well as the Netherlands were to be merged into the German Reich. (…) For these “major development measures of the German police including the peacetime quarters of the Waffen-SS in the Generalgouvernement, Protectorate, Scandinavia and the Netherlands approximately 7 billion RM” are required.  In addition, Kammler had calculated, that “another 6 billion RM would be used up for the buildings of the Waffen-SS, as well as the SS and the police bases in the new Eastern Space”.  This Eastern Space would have a colonial character and would reach from the Ural to the Volga and until Baku on the Caspian Sea.” (Albert Speer, ibid., p. 407)]

The same Kammler was engaged at this time (1941-42) with other urgent building works – the construction of “crematoria, extermination camps and the expansion of concentration camps” showing that within the Nazi or SS administration, the organisation of the colonisation of the east and construction of death camps were part of one and the same thrust/initiative.  In fact, as Speer notes – Kammler was under some pressure to master his whole planning task.  “Für Kammler, der sich gerade in diesen Monaten mit dem Bau von Krematorien, Vernichtungslagern und der Erweiterung der Konzentrationslager zu beschäftigen hatte, scheinen so gigantische Planungen eine Herausforderung an sein Organisationsvermögen gewesen zu sein.
[“For Kammler, who was occupied exactly in these months with the building of crematoria, extermination camps and the expansion of concentration camps, it appears that such gigantic planning was a challenge to his organisational abilities.” (Speer, ibid, p. 408)]

Although Speer was a big man in the construction branch in Berlin he felt dwarfed by SS rival Kammler’s speculative ‘coming’ kingdom of the east: “Wenn er (Kammler) diese Aufgabe befriedigend löste, würde er mit Sicherheit nach dem Kriege eine der mächtigsten Figuren auf dem Baugebiet sein.  Was bedeutete neben jenen 2,6 Milliarden RM pro Jahr mein Etat von ganzen 550 Millionen RM als Generalbauinspektor der Reichshauptstadt!” (ibid.)
[“If he (Kammler) would complete this task satisfactorily, he would most certainly be one of the most powerful figures in the construction branch after the war.  Next to those 2.6 billion RM per year, what significance was my budget of 550 million RM as General Inspector of the Reich capital!” (ibid.)] 

(The “Ostraum” (East-Space) and “Ostministerium”(East-Ministry) of Nazi Germany seemed to come back to life briefly in “Ostphantasie” (East-Phantasy), a popular slogan at the time of the ‘reunification’.)

The inception of Auschwitz was like any other ‘new city’ (a Nazi Milton Keynes so to speak) raised from the bare earth as a mature, fully-grown residential industrial complex replete with all its predestined functions including mass murder – civilian architectural bureaus/firms tendered for the contract of its design and construction.  Agamben’s English language publishers (Stanford University Press) visually underline the normality rather than the exceptional nature of the camp-city, – the cover illustration for the English translation of Homo Sacer is a photograph of one of those tendered architectural designs, the “second master plan” of Auschwitz.
The sheer existence of such a  Lageplan (1942) of the model camp-city Auschwitz contradicts Agamben’s basic contention that: “In the camp, the state of exception  (…) is now given a permanent spatial arrangement, which as such nevertheless remains outside the normal order.” (Homo Sacer, ibid. p. 169)  The Lageplan dates from precisely the time when the SS administration (Kammler) were engaged in their forward planning for the expanded Reich and whole territory of the East.   Auschwitz was an essential Stützpunkt (base) for the prospective post war Reich – not an anomaly extraneous to that plan.  As Speer reports – more than half of the of the colossal budget reserved for development was allocated for the new Reich territories – Auschwitz itself was located in prime Polish territory and would have been incorporated together with the Netherlands etc in the Reich proper.

The Nazi hierarchy and Volk, in their mad rush to grab as much as they could from their brief but genocidal conquests, had in any case no time to worry about what was normal and what was exceptional.  Although this did not mean, that the Nazi entity was conducted or conducted itself as if it were a permanent ‘illegality’.  On the contrary, as Speer remarks, also in his own defence, the day-to-day routine in the Nazi administration and state was one of a “semblance of legality”:
“The high party functionary could not step out of his own system anymore, he was trapped in it himself.  He no longer realized the moral deformation, in which he had entered through the everyday routine of the apparently orderly, legally anchored prison operation of the Reich.  In light of the semblance of legality of the regime he never had time to become conscious of the totally illegal events.”
[“Der hohe Parteifunktionär konnte aus seinem eigenen System nicht mehr heraustreten, er war selber darin gefangen.  Er realisierte nicht mehr die moralische Deformation, in die er durch den Alltag des scheinbar geordneten, gesetzlich verankerten Zuchthausbetriebes des Reiches getreten war.  Angesichts der scheinbaren Gesetzlichkeit des Regimes kam er nicht dazu, sich das total ungesetzliche Geschehen bewußtzumachen.” (Speer, ibid.,  p.22)]
This “semblance of legality” did not exclude the ‘camp’ as Agamben would suggest, - it was meant to precisely integrate the camp and all other operations of the Nazi state into one ‘system’.  The camp was not a peculiar zone of “stable exception” any more than the whole Nazi entity itself – either everywhere is the ‘camp’ or nowhere.  And if this “zone” were in some way “stable”, then how could it follow as Agamben claims that “whoever entered the camp moved in a zone of indistinction between outside and inside, exception and rule, licit and illicit, in which the very concepts of subjective right and juridical protection no longer made any sense.” (Homo Sacer, ibid., p. 170)

What happened in the camp was not outside of Nazi legal determinations or jurisdictions or ‘rationality’ as Agamben suggests with his dictum that there “everything is possible”. (ibid.)  When Himmler decided that the camps were to be the backbone of the SS economy, the sheer ‘bare life’ of Jewish prisoners (known as “special prisoners”) had to be snatched back out of the killing lane and preserved for the armament factory.  Himmler’s ‘sovereign decision’, six days after the “Wannsee Conference” on the “final solution” – in a sense grounded another exceptional rationale within the ‘normal’ program to annihilate all the Jews.  Himmler’s order to SS-Brigadenführer Richard Glücks, Chief of the Inspection of all Concentration Camps to prepare for the arrival of Jews and Jewesses in anticipation of “great economic assignments and contracts”, was also dictated by the ‘facticity’ of the defeats of the German armies before Moscow.  The expected lack of Russian prisoners of war for the factory work delayed the murder of at least 100,000 male Jews and 50,000 female Jews who had to fill in for them. (see Speer, ibid. p. 31)  In this historical factual context, one sees that Nazi so-called ‘thanatopolitics’ was not so pure and absolute as Agamben would have one believe.  But it is not just a matter of the sinking Nazi fortunes in war – Himmler’s readiness to temporarily “save Jews” demonstrates that the moment ‘the camp’, meaning the huge network of various types of camps throughout the third Reich, was to become Germany’s prime industrial site (not just of ‘industrial murder’), it could no longer exclusively figure as Agamben’s pure locus of sovereign power acting upon and with bare life.  (Bare life as it is conceived in Agamben’s parlance of ‘the camp’ refers exclusively to the Jewish body insofar as Nazi race ‘law’ determines it to be extermination material.)  If ‘the camp’ arose as an ‘exceptional’ site – in the course of the SS’s economic administration of ‘the camp’ – it acquired an ever-increasing degree of SS-normality.  The so-called indistinction between fact and law so emphasized by Agamben as a differentia specifica of Nazi biopolitics and its ‘bare life’ – is a function of the way ‘the camp’ ‘seceded’ from the jurisdiction of ‘sovereign Power’ (race law, ‘Führer-Word’) and was transformed into the ‘private property’ of the SS (economic fact).  The camp and its closed universe of extermination and associated ‘positive’ economic exploitation was the form of SS ‘autarchic’ capitalism.  The body of the camp was the Nazi version (edition) of Fichte’s “The Closed Trade-State” (Der Geschlossene Handelsstaat).      

Speer confirms though that the two major ‘functions’ of the concentration camp – extermination (Ausrottung) and a production site using slave labour including that of Jews were in permanent conflict with one another. (see Speer, ibid., p. 381-382)
These two ‘functions’ also represented warring factions within the SS-hierarchy.
Himmler issued directives to camp commandants to improve the conditions of the prisoners and to raise their dietary rations to the level of ancient Egyptian slaves or Roman soldiers - simple but with all the vitamins.  A very minimal wage and camp brothels for the best workers were in planning.  Other SS fractions sabotaged these plans by summarily executing the Jewish skilled labour in existing SS-owned factories – such as the murder of 17,000 Jewish workers in the aggregate of confiscated Jewish factories called “Ost-Industrie” in the so-called “Generalgouvernement” in Poland. “Es kann aber (…) keine Erklärung dafür gefunden werden, daß am 3. November 1943 in elf Stunden, von vormittags 6 Uhr bis abends 17 Uhr, in Gruppen zu je zehn Juden von der SS insgesamt 17 000 Juden erschossen wurden, die den Betrieben der SS-eigenen “Ost-Industrie” angehörten, in der die konfiszierten jüdischen Betriebe zusammengefaßt waren.”
[“No explanation however can be found, that on 3rd November 1943 in 11 hours, from 6 o’clock in the morning until 17 o’clock, in groups of ten Jews each, the SS shot a total of 17,000 Jews, who belonged to the SS’s own “East-Industry”, which was comprised of confiscated Jewish factories.”  (Speer, ibid.)]  Oswald Pohl, in charge of the “SS main bureau for economic administration” (SS-WVHA) wrote despairingly to his second manager (Geschäftsführer) that “this action” has made all their efforts so far to “build and expand” “totally worthless” (“völlig wertlos”).  A member of the opposing SS fraction, the pure extermination wing, the Warsaw SS-and-Police-Chief, said to another associate of Pohl’s: “Ost-Industrie! Wenn ich schon ‘Industrie’ höre, wird mir übel!” (“East-Industry! Already when I hear ‘industry’, I feel sick.”) (ibid.)  Pohl was sentenced to death in 1947 by an American military tribunal for his role in the “Final Solution” and hanged in Landsberg am Lech shortly after midnight on 8th June 1951.
Heidegger’s comment in his Bremen address “The Frame” (das Gestell) in 1949 – that “Agriculture today is a motorized industry of alimentation, the same thing in essence as the fabrication of corpses in the gas chambers and the death camps (…)” (cited in Emmanuel Faye, Heidegger The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935, Yale University, 2009, p. 304) reveals that he was oblivious to the ‘destinal’ ‘aporia’ of production and extermination (Vernichtung, Ausrottung), constitutive of the Lagersystem and Nazi economics in general.  That is the precise point – it is not the same thing  – if the SS had followed Hitler’s, Bormann’s and Goebbels supreme will to exterminate all the Jews immediately (“fabricate corpses”) – they would not be able to realize the dream of an SS economic empire (“motorized industry”) using this labour while still alive.  Himmler’s verbal pledges of conscientious extermination followed by his holding on to living Jews for his industrial projects sounds, in Speer’s account, as if he were ‘cheating’ on the Führer, who somehow indulged him in these whims.  The hazy vision of the “Friedensreich” (peace empire) after the “Endsieg” (Final Victory) clouded the Führer’s view of the major war aims.  If in reality, as Speer judges, Himmler’s and Hitler’s dream of the SS ‘economic empire’ was a fiasco, it was not least because the SS could not keep the projected work force alive long enough.  (Speer of course was a rival of Himmler – and the prospective SS-empire was an unwanted competitor to his ministry of armaments, the Wehrmacht and private industry – all of which needed their contingents of prisoner-and-Jewish labour.  Speer mentions the so-called “Wehrmachtjuden”.)
The general Nazi-SS planned operation though - exploiting living human labour power for factory production in ‘the camp’, and not just murdering potential labour power as if on a production-line, had to follow a minimal economic and not purely an extermination logic.
[Excursus:  Heidegger revamped himself after 1945 and the military world defeat of Nazism as a critic of technology.  ‘Motorization of the Wehrmacht’ in 1941 was for him a ‘metaphysical event’ – certainly a cause for his jubilation.  On a more absolute scale – he pronounces the mission of the German university as the essence of Science: “Science (…) must become the power that shapes the body of the German university.” (Martin Heidegger, The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/1934: Facts and Thoughts, Review of Metaphysics, 38:3 (1985:Mar.) p. 477) – so one can hardly regard him as a thinker nostalgically longing for a pre-industrial, agrarian, non-technical past. Of course in the time of ‘greatness’, of the fulfilment of destiny in Nazism – Heidegger was all presence and future – nostalgia is a symptom of defeat and the projection into a time prior to it.  Hence his supposed anti-technology fervour after 1945, rather than a rejection of modernity, was the refusal of the post-Nazi world constituted by his own (je meines) vae victo.  Badiou distinctly pre-dates Heidegger’s supposed opposition to “the nihilist reign of technique” – firmly placing it within his “national-socialist politics, practised by Heidegger in a militant fashion as the German occurrence of resolute decision and of thought’s engagement against the nihilist reign of technique, an engagement anchored in the categories of work, soil, community, and the appropriation of the site.” (Alain Badiou, “Philosophy and art”, in: Infinite Thought, London, 2004, p. 91)

 On the contrary, according to the Heideggerian de Beistegui, “(…) Heidegger always believed that the true Führung emanated from “science” and that Nazism was essentially (or ought to be) a technocracy.” (Miguel de Beistegui, “Another Step, Another Direction”, online).
Equally disingenuous as Badiou’s presentation of Heidegger as a militant opponent of technique, is Nancy’s dismissal as “error” of “Heidegger’s conflation of the camps with the “agricultural food industry” in a single, blanket condemnation of “technology.”” (see Jean-Luc Nancy, “A Finite Thinking” in A Finite Thinking, Stanford, 2003, p. 324).  Nancy diverts attention from the comparison of “the motorized industry of alimentation” and the “fabrication of corpses in the gas chambers” itself to Heidegger’s so-called blanket condemnation of technology.  This is, for him, Heidegger’s error of judgement regarding technology – or was it rather the ‘error’ of such a frank disclosure of his historical standpoint?  Nancy is here overtly concerned to release technology from its portrayal as evil as such – and from its hypostatization in general – there is no Technology only technologies.  The reference to Heidegger’s remark about “the camps” comes only in a footnote appended to a general statement in the body of the text about the possible evil uses of technology.  Obviously though Heidegger was not simply condemning technology, he was equating the extermination industry to the agricultural food industry, which no one would call diabolical even if sometimes ecological precepts are transgressed.  His remark condones treating mass murder or genocide and the ‘recycling’ of bodies and the property belonging to those bodies as an industry, and comparing that to the industry assigned with feeding the Volk.  The German word Lager contains all these possibilities – meaning reserve, stock, store, warehouse as well as camp.
Heidegger's comparison of genocide and the food industry is also related to his comments in another one of the Bremen lectures with the title “The Danger”, that the exterminated persons were not mortals (Sterbliche) and therefore cannot be said to have died in the sense of Dasein and its Being-towards-Death.  “Hundreds of thousands die en masse.  Do they die?  They perish.  They are put down.  Do they die?  They become supply pieces for stock (Bestandstücke eines Bestandes) in the fabrication of corpses.  Do they die? They are liquidated inconspicuously in extermination camps (Vernichtungslager). (…) But to die means to carry out death in its essence. (…) We can only do this if our essence likes the essence of death.  But in the middle of innumerable deaths the essence of death remains unrecognizable. (…) Death pertains (gehört – belongs sm) to the Dasein of man who appears (ereignete – took place, is befallen sm) out of the essence of being (…) Death is the loftiest shelter of the truth of being, the shelter that shelters within itself the hidden character of the essence of being and draws together the saving of its essence.
That is why man can die if and only if being itself appropriates the essence of man into the essence of being on the basis of the truth of its essence.  (…) Only those who can die are mortals in the apposite sense of the word. (“Diejenigen, die sterben können, sind erst die Sterblichen im tragenden Sinn dieses Wortes.”)” (see Faye, ibid., pp. 304-305)
This text is strangely unfocussed and constantly shifting its ground.  As if imitating the dramatic unity of place, action and time - the three invocations of the pathetic question “do they die?” points to (marks) these shifts.  The first ‘do they die’ acknowledges (partially) the massness of the death – the simultaneous murder of many at once.  They are “put down” or “liquidated”.  Murder though is a technical operation of ending life – without affect – certainly not a crime.  But most essential, death is not a series but a convergence of many deaths in the same place and at the same time – in imitation of the impersonal hand of fate or natural catastrophe or other circumstances of mass killings such as a plane crash, etc.  Except of course – this killing is not an accident – it has the rationale of “fabrication”. 
The second ‘do they die?’ speaks of the ‘purpose’, reiterating the inextricable (con)fusion – within the Nazi logic – of extermination and production: the bodies are only supply pieces for the fabrication of corpses.  This is a unique Nazi definition of murder.  Stock though suggests that these corpses were somehow not perishable – could be kept, retained as inventory.  Although just before that – Heidegger had confirmed – “They perish.”  Equally it is not clear – in this shadowy indistinct realm between live and dead bodies – if the stock or supply is the living or the dead bodies.  And Heidegger never pauses to ask – why does one ‘need’ in the economic (fabrication) sense millions of corpses – in the way one needs millions of pairs of soldiers’ boots?  Or to ponder – what is the sense/meaning of the fabrication of millions of corpses?
But such questions would only expose the aberrant nature of this so-called “fabrication of corpses” – the production process in the extermination camp’s gas chambers whose product was the corpse – ended in the vast majority of cases with the almost immediate destruction of this product – namely in the burning of the ‘product’ in the crematoria.  The final product was smoke and ashes.  Obviously this factory line could not be said to correspond to the production of commodities meant to enter into the circulation sphere such as the agricultural products of the food industry.  Heidegger though is not really commenting on an economic technological process. 
He is at pains to describe the exceptional fact of genocide in terms of something familiar and normal – in this case the ordinary capitalist logic of factory production – implying that nothing has really happened in the German death camps, which does not happen now or at any time.  The logical continuation of this thought is - German normality includes genocide within its range.  Or genocide belongs to what Heidegger considers “in essence” normal.

He is trying to hide the fact of the genocide of the Jewish people perpetrated by Germans in their death camps within what is “in essence” a ‘normal’ capitalist logic of factory production.

The third ‘do they die?’ returns to the type of action – now called liquidation.  But more importantly the space where it takes place – and that the action takes place “inconspicuously” (unauffällig).  This is purely wishful thinking on Heidegger’s part – nothing was inconspicuous, least of all ‘the extermination camp’ (Vernichtungslager).  The defeat and all that follows testifies to this.  And if it were merely motorized industry – what does it matter if the liquidation is conspicuous or inconspicuous?  Wouldn’t the camp be just like any other industrial park?  And if on the other hand, the extermination of the Jews were ‘the truth of being’, aletheia, as it was asserted to be by the being of the Nazi state, then why was it not perpetrated in the open, unconcealed (unverborgen) in the ‘clearing’ of being?   
Why did they have to hide it in Poland?
Or is Heidegger indulging in the criminal’s phantasy of the ‘perfect crime’ – practically invisible except for its fading trace in the minds of the perpetrators? 
He applies his stale ubiquitous formula of ‘appropriation’ to death – as if being were a self-broker (jobber), who has a contract with death to ‘buy’ back (appropriate) “essence of man” it had previously given to itself and so on … sounding very much like an ontological version of the Ponzi scheme.
His ‘unsaid’ recognition of the fact that this systemic mass crime against millions of persons was not inconspicuous – and that the undead demon is now permanently ‘sheltered’ within the German destinal Being – ‘breaks through’ ‘the mirror of his language’; his implicit almost superstitious ‘reproach’ is that this mass of bodies unable to die were not mortal in the first place. With Being’s logic/logos of the ghoul and its ‘liking of the essence of death’, Heidegger is addressing, almost superstitiously, the nameless immortality (transcendence, Unsterblichkeit) of these bodies, which because they were not ‘Sterbliche’ (mortals) could not die.  (see Faye, ibid., pp. 304-305)

A saying (Sage) of Heidegger: with the suddenness of inner earth the words turned, worms crawling across the outer page.
Ich grabe, du gräbst, und es gräbt auch der Wurm,
und das Singende dort sagt: Sie graben.

(“I dig, you dig, and also the worm digs,
and the singing there says: they dig.” Paul Celan, Die Niemandsrose -
The No-one’s rose)
or the chiastic variation:
Ich singe, du singst, und es singt auch der Wurm,
und das Grabende dort sagt: sie singen
(I sing, you sing, and also the worm sings,
and the digging there says: they sing.”)

Heidegger’s tiered scale of dying/death, disjoined from life, is especially remote from ancient Greek thought, for instance Heraclitus’ dialectic of life and death encompassed within one of the mortal and the immortal – life like the spiritual element fire lives and dies at the same time; or lives its dying, dies its living - yet fire does not die.  Life and death are one – as captured in the pun Heraclitus develops around the word bios meaning both bow and life:
“B 48 Now the name of the bow is life, in fact it is death (ergon de thanatos = work of death).” [“Nun ist der Bogen dem Namen nach Leben, in der Tat aber Tod (Bogen = biós, Leben = bios).” Heraklit, Fragmente, Herausgegeben von Bruno Snell, München und Zürich, 1986, p. 19]
In the same manner the immortal mortal forms a continuum with the mortal immortal: “B 62 Unsterbliche sterblich, Sterbliche unsterblich, - lebend einander ihren Tod, ihr Leben einander sterbend.” (Immortals mortal, Mortals immortal, - living one another their death, their life dying one another., ibid., p.23)  One can also sense in Hegel’s ‘philosophy of death’ (Kojeve-Bataille), a Heraclitean origin; expressed in Kojeve’s aphorism that man is “death living a human life”.  For Hegel, this negativity is also the ‘hegemonic’ principle of human action. (see Georges Bataille, “Hegel, Death and Sacrifice”, The Bataille Reader, Oxford, 1997, p. 280)]

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