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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: The Nexus Between Jurisprudence, Natural Law, and Genre Depictions of Genocide
(GNLU) Journal of Law, Development & Politics (2009)
  • Renee A Pistone

Connections between reading and seeing often do aid in such an exploration about how fiction and film memorialize the Holocaust. The Holocaust's truths and its memories are shown through documents, memoirs, and diaries. These forms of evidence depict how the Holocaust did not reflect distortions in human nature; rather, it was carried out by Nazis who portrayed what society was like under the Sovereign. The Nazis violated the social compact because life in concentration camps amounted to life, in what Hobbes called the state of nature. Now, the question is whether the Nazis were following legal positivism. We know that jurisprudence is rooted in legal theory and it does encompass societal mores that govern behavior. Whereas, Thomas Hobbes posits that natural law is assumed to be the direct result of our nature as human beings. And it is based on the presuppostion that humanity seeks to preserve itself. Therefore, it is not only entering into the social compact with society that saves us, but a jurisprudence that is rooted in rational thinking. The Holocaust films and literature depict life in the state of nature and it was as Hobbes said, "short, brutish and nasty."

Publication Date
Winter December 19, 2009
Citation Information
Vol 1 Issue 2 (2009)