Vernichtungshaft

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by luna_docg, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. luna_docg Junior Member

    Florence- Italy
    Italian
    Hi everybody!
    Yesterday I saw a German film about the Seventies revolution in Berlin.
    On the wall of a prison there was this sentence:

    "Weg mit der Vernichtungshaft"

    Does anybody know what is its meaning?
    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  2. Captain Lars

    Captain Lars Senior Member

    Ducatus Montensis
    Deutsch (D)
    "Get rid of the exterminative imprisonment" or something along the lines.

    Wait for an English native speaker.
     
  3. exgerman Senior Member

    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Auf was bezieht sich der Ausdruck? Ich nehme an daß es etwas mit Baader-Meinhof zu tun hat---aber vor oder nach deren Tod im Gefängnis?
     
  4. luna_docg Junior Member

    Florence- Italy
    Italian
    Ja, der Film ist "Baader-Meinhof Komplex". Der Ausdruck ist vor deren Tod.
     
  5. exgerman Senior Member

    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    That's what it means---get rid of the imprisonment that results in extermination. Maybe down with lethal imprisonment.
     
  6. ABBA Stanza Senior Member

    Hessen, DE
    English (UK)
    Hmm, I looked it up in Wikipedia and was redirected to the page for Isolationshaft (solitary confinement), which contains the statement:

    Die Isolationshaft ist wegen ihrer Auswirkungen auf den Häftling sehr umstritten und wird von Kritikern auch als Vernichtungshaft bezeichnet.

    This makes me wonder whether "Vernichtungshaft" really does imply that the prisoners are exterminated. From the descriptions, it sounds like Vernichtungshaft implies any form of imprisonment which has a destructive effect on the prisoners (i.e. anything that is intended to grind them into submission, whether physically, psychologically or otherwise). Solitary confinement (which the Baader-Meinhof terrorists were subjected to before they commited suicide) appears to be just one type of "Vernichtungshaft". Other examples, like Guantanamo, also immediately come to mind.

    Maybe the English equivalent would be "destructive detention" or "destructive imprisonment", or something of that kind?

    Cheers
    Abba
     
  7. exgerman Senior Member

    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    This is a politicl wall poster, denouncing the German government for effectively annihilating its political prisoners. You don't look for nuanced footnotes in this sort of thing.
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Da hast Du vollkommen Recht. Wenn etwas typisch ist für die RAF, Sponti-, K-Gruppen, Autonomen-Szene im Westdeutschland der 70er Jahre ist, dass dass sie sich selbst, ihre Bedeutung und ihre Wohlstandsprobleme bis ins Groteske übersteigerten. Unabhängig davon, wie man die Haftbedingungen in Stammheim unter rechtsstaatlichen Aspekten bewerten mag, ein Vergleich mit den Nazi-Vernichtungslagern ist natürlich vollkommen absurd, er passt aber exakt in die Denkkategorien dieser Leute in dieser Zeit.
     
  9. ABBA Stanza Senior Member

    Hessen, DE
    English (UK)
    Thanks, guys, although I wouldn't personally call the question as to whether one necessarily dies in Vernichtungshaft a "nuance"! :)

    But from your posts and reading around a bit, it seems that the term Vernichtungshaft should in theory really only be applied to things like the the concentration camps in the Second World War, but was misused by left-wing activists during the late Seventies as propaganda related to the alleged atrocities of the German state committed against the captured RAF members during their imprisonment. If that is indeed the case, then probably no English translation will carry the weight of the German original, which is laden with political history and would probably arouse strong emotions in any German who was around to witness these events at the time.

    Cheers
    Abba
     
  10. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    It is indeed and I agree with your conclusions. Fortunately we were only asked to explain the term, which we did, and not to suggest a translation.:)
     

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