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Bergmann, M.S. (1983). The Parnas. Silvano Arieti. New York: Basic Books, 1979, 165 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 70(2):294-295.
(1983). Psychoanalytic Review, 70(2):294-295
The Parnas. Silvano Arieti. New York: Basic Books, 1979, 165 pp.
Review by: Martin S. Bergmann
During World War II, Hitler waged two wars simultaneously. The first, against the Allies, was ultimately based on what Kohut calls narcissistic rage at the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles. It was buttressed by an ideology that made the war of the strong against the weak and the conquest of living
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space, a moral imperative. The second was the war of extermination against the Jews. The Jew was the universal enemy, the poisonous element of which the world should be cleansed. While some human empathy was still retained towards the outer enemy, all traces of empathy towards the humanness of Jews were ruthlessly extinguished.
The two wars were interrelated, but Hitler's anti-semitism was older than the rest of his ideologies. We know now that the “final solution” was arrived at on January 20, 1944, after it became clear that Soviet Russia, unlike France, would not succumb. Hitler became convinced that even if he were to be defeated, he would be remembered as the world's savior should he succeed in exterminating the Jews.
This is the background for Dr. Arieti's documented and yet fictionalized account as to what happened to seven Jews and five Christians in Pisa a month before Italy's liberation. The event happened; the names are real. But what transpired in that house has been imaginatively reconstructed by Dr. Arieti.
The Allies had already reached the Arno; they were only a few hundred yards away from Pisa. They had stopped their offensive in order to
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