The days pass …

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This paper presents a study of three diaries, written by French Jews during the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany, when, as elsewhere in Europe, they were subject to severe persecution. It is also a case study, in that the examples serve to investigate the semiotics of their genre. I read these diaries for the experience of time that they reveal, for which iconicity is a necessary but not sufficient condition. I shall start briefly with the diary of Saül Castro (Castro 2007), who was held for several months in Drancy and Compiègne, and then released. Then, at greater length, those of Jacques Biélinky (Biélinky 1997), and Hélène Berr (Berr 2008), who were both deported and killed. For reasons inherent in the circumstances under which they were written, all these diaries show an acute awareness of time.


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