La norme du corps : un essai de fondation de la morale et du droit

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« One day toward the end of World War II, a few Dachau prisoners made a pact. Determined to show that there was an alternative to the usual strife between inmates, they would act like gentlemen; for a whole day, rough and selfish behaviour would give way to civility and compassion, as if they still lived regular lives outside. When the agreed day came, the men tried their hardest to stay true to the ideal of common decency, starting with the scramble to dress, wash, and eat in the morning. By evening, all of them failed, defeated by the harsh reality of the camp. ‘The beast inside humans gains the upper hand ‘, the Belgian resistance fighter and Dachau prisoner Arthur Haulot noted in his diary on January 19, 1945, after he heard about the experiment. ‘One does not with impunity live so long outside the norm’ ».

Cette triste anecdote est rapportée par l’historien anglais Nikolaus Wachsmann. Le livre de Jay Bernstein donne des clés philosophiques permettant de comprendre ce qui s’est passé à Dachau au début de l’année 1945.