by Lothar Galow-Bergemann
„Work makes you free“ was written above the gate of the Auschwitz death camp. How did the Nazis come up with that? Isn’t work something meaningful, something good? What does it have to do with Auschwitz, of all places? A great deal. Because work and meaningful activity are, contrary to popular belief, two different things.
[This article published on 3/10/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet]
Published in Jungle World, 03/10/2022.
The work society
The highest law in our society is not written anywhere, but everyone knows it: We have to work all our lives to earn money so that we can live. This working and the positive reference to it seems to us like a law of nature. But even the origin of the word „work“ in different languages should make us wonder. The ancient Greek ponein (to work) comes from ponos (toil, burden), the French and Spanish words for work travail /trabajo derive from the vulgar Latin tripalare, which means nothing other than „to torment, to stake.“ In Russian, work is called rabota, which comes from rab, „the slave.“ And the Germanic arba simply means „the servant. Weiterlesen