2 Jul 2015

Selection on Jews as rats from Hippler’s Der Ewige Jude [The Eternal Jew]

Corry Shores
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[Boldface and underlining are my own. This replication is made in the context of a study of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and the emphasis is meant to relate the material to that text and not to suggest any agreement with the sentiments or ideas expressed.]

Selection on Jews as rats from

Fritz Hippler (Dir)

Der Ewige Jude
[The Eternal Jew]


ewige jew poster 2 museum 15222-2301x3200



[The following quotes from the English subtitles.]

Their homelessness, though, is a matter of choice, and in keeping with their entire history. Four thousand years ago, their Hebrew ancestors were already wandering. Out of the Land of Two Rivers, they wandered along the sea to Egypt, where they ran a lucrative grain business for a while.


When the country farmers and other Egyptians... rose against the foreign usurers and speculators, they wandered once more, and plundered their way to the promised land.


They settled there, mercilessly looting culturally-superior rightful inhabitants. Here in the course of centuries, from the Oriental, Far Eastern racial mixture... with Negroid admixture, the ultimate mongrelized Jews developed.


Foreign from us Europeans, born of totally-different racial elements, they differ from us in body and above all in soul. 


We probably would never have been bothered by them had they stayed in their Oriental home. But the cosmopolitan empire of Alexander the Great, reaching from the Near East across half the Mediterranean, and especially the boundless world empire of the Romans, brought about the evolution of the trade and migratory traits of the Jews, who soon spread across the open Mediterranean area.


While some of them settled in the large urban traffic... and the trade centers of the Mediterranean, others wandered relentlessly on across Spain, France, Southern Germany, and England. Everywhere they made themselves unwelcome. In Spain and France the people rose openly against them in the 13th and 14th Centuries, and they wandered on, mainly to Germany.


From there they followed the path of the Aryan culture... creative Germans colonizing the East... till they finally found a gigantic new untapped reservoir... in the Polish and Russian sections of Eastern Europe.


The 19th Century, with its muddled ideas about human equality and freedom, gave the Jews a great lift. From eastern Europe they spread across the entire continent... during the 19th and 20th Centuries, and then across the world.


Parallel to these Jewish wanderings throughout the world is the migration of...  a similarly restless animal: the rat.


Rats have been parasites on mankind from the very beginning.


Their home is Asia, from which they migrated in gigantic hordes...  over Russia and the Balkans into Europe. By the middle of the 18th Century, they'd already spread over all of Europe. 

vlcsnap-2015-07-02-17h28m38s096Toward the end of the 19th Centiry, with growing shipping traffic, they took possession of America as well, and eventually Africa and the Far East.


Wherever rats turn up, they carry destruction to the land... by destroying mankind's goods and nourishment and spreading diseases and plagues... such as cholera, dysentery, leprosy, and typhoid fever.

Ewige Jew Mice 1

They are cunning. cowardly, and cruel, and usually appear in massive hordes. They represent the elements of sneakiness and subterranean destruction among animals, just as the Jews do among mankind.


The parasite nation of Judah is responsible for a large part of international crime.

[from around to 13.30 to around 17.30 of the youtube English subs version, or from around to 13.45 to around 18.00 in the archive.org version]

Consider for comparison some shots from Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens, 1935), which documents some of Adolf Hitler’s speeches before the military. Notice the composition in these shots.

Triumph Wills 1

Triumph Wills 2

Here the German soldiers are portrayed as perfectly organized in a geometrically rigid and mechanically interrelated structure. Compare that composition to the image from Der Ewige Jude of the chaotic mess of rats.

Ewige Jew Mice 1

Movie Poster from:

“Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal or Wandering Jew)”. The United States Holocaust Museum.


Embedded video and subtitles from:

“Der Ewige Jude [ENG SUB].” Uploaded to youtube by Chaîne de LeGuideMoustachu.

Screenshots taken from:

“1940 - Der Ewige Jude (1h 05m, 656x560).”


Transcribed Selections from Art Spiegelman's 2014 Interview with Neil Gaiman

by Corry Shores
Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]
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[Boldface is my own.]

Transcribed Selections from

Art Spiegelman & Neil Gaiman

“Neil Gaiman in Conversation with Art Spiegelman”

[Public Interview]

April 4, 2014
Sosnoff Theater
The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
Bard College


Transcribed Selections

[Gaiman and Spiegelman discuss family trees and how whole branches were eliminated in the concentration camps. Spiegelman mentions how he met with a cousin who did a genealogy of their family.]


The family in 1938 and the family in 1946. And it was the same thing, but with blank boxes everywhere. Nobody was left in 1946, just one little branch that included him and me, because cousins were really the same as brothers and sisters after the war. The only family you could find were through several steps of remove. I reproduced that diagram in MetaMaus over two spreads, and it still chokes me up in a way that the book so does not, because I have had to be so clinical about making Maus. [from around 36.00 to 38.00]

[Gaiman then asks where did the original idea of the three-page Maus story in Funny Animals come from. Spiegelman’s answer largely reproduces what is explained in Metamaus, pages 111-114.]


Kafka's Josephine the Singer came to mind, which is a metaphor of the Jews as mice, and allowed what became that three page story to happen.
[around 40.10]

[Gaiman then talks about his cousin who is a Holocaust professor and survivor herself.]


[She] hates Maus. And I got to listen to her tell me why she hated it, for five minutes, of going, “it is ridiculous, it portrays the Jews as mice,” and so on and so forth it is a cartoon. And she got to the end of that, and she started telling me something else. And two minutes into that, she started telling me how the Nazis called us rodents, and they said “we were subhuman.” And she completely failed to see that the two lined up, absolutely.


Well, I certainly have gotten a lot of heat from Poles about drawing them as pigs. The Jews are so long suffering and so used to be put down, that I have hardly ever heard that particular response, you know? But also, because of the way the book is structured, these are self-destructing metaphors. They are metaphors that are meant to fall apart. There is a place in one little scene where a Jewish guy who is with a German woman, and they have a kid, and the kid is like a mouse with cat strips on it. It is not meant to be taken as literal that they are different species. Or when my father is wandering around Poland, he is wearing a Woolworth pig mask that has strings hanging off the back. Some of the Poles behave really well, some behave badly. Some of the Jews behave well, some behave badly. So that in a number of places in the book, that particular metaphor, you are asked to let it dissolve. And it just allows actually something really important, which is the Little Orphan Annie’s Eyeball Effect to take place. I always found Little Orphan Annie a lot more emotionally evocative than say Little Abner, with a much more exaggerated drawing style, because here we are asked to project the expression and ultimately the face through these blank pieces of paper that were inside those oval eyeballs. And so it allows somebody to become more specific by you doing the work of finding that specific person. And I think if I was off on a search for verisimilitude, I would collapse in five seconds. I do not know what these Polish people looked like. I do not know what Vladek’s friend looked like. There is no photo reference to go to. And just by having a mouse-mask, it was just, you project the face, I will just give you the body gestures as if it were some kind of Japanese Noh Theater or something.
[around 40.00 to 43.10]


For me comics are an art of compression. […] …what comics do so well. They are an abbreviated form of writing and an abbreviated form of drawing, closer, as I think James Stern who has this comics school up in Vermont put it, comics are not about drawing and writing, they are about graphic design and poetry. […] It is not about illustration, exactly. The visual compression is part of its power, and not everything should be a three hundred page story. If I could draw better, Maus would be have been 2000 pages. It is a compressed 300 pages, and it took 13 years to compress.
[around 57.15 to around 58.20]


For me, the power of comics is the point when you can go silent. What I miss the most about writing novels is silent panels, because in a comic I can actually have a character stop talking for a moment and just have a beat, just one of those blank panels. And you cannot do that in a novel. You have to say something. Even if you say, “he did not say something for a moment,” you just said something. You broke that silence. And the glory of comics is especially of things that are happening silence, then the reader brings herself to what is going on, to the image and has to decide what is happening, how people feel, and I love that. So for me, just because I have written “no dialogue” underneith a panel description does not make it any less [… overtalk].


All those silent movies were written. Someone had to write them, and not just the intertitles. It is built in.
[from 1.26.15 to around 1.27.25]


Art Spiegelman & Neil Gaiman. “Neil Gaiman in Conversation with Art Spiegelman”. [Public Interview]. April 4, 2014. Sosnoff Theater.
The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Bard College. Available on youtube:

1 Jul 2015

Human?? Why Should I Want to Be Human?!?

by Corry Shores
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[Graphic Literature, entry directory]

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“Human?? Why Should I Want to Be Human?!?”


This is a panel from the first appearance of the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #1, by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

Kirby & Lee.Incredible Hulk #1,pg9.pnl10.WhyHuman

Hulk’s sentiment I think comes from him thinking that humans are puny weaklings, and he would hate to lose power by becoming one. We might also think of the transhumanist desire to go beyond the limitations of the human species by means of futuristic technologies. Or, perhaps a sort of misanthropic disgust with the human race comes to mind, like what is expressed in Jonathan Swift’s famous line from Gulliver’s Travels, where the King of Brobdingnag says seemingly of humanity, “I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.” Given the general moral character of our species, and its thoughtless destruction of the only known planet which is not hostile to life forms, we might like the Hulk (but for these other reasons) question the value of being human. I am further reminded of these panels from chapter 6 of the first book of Art Spiegelman’s Maus.


In a way, rats are less inhumane than the Nazis were. Perhaps we might take Hulk’s question, “Human?? Why Should I Want to Be Human?!?” as an invitation to address some of the more problematic elements of human nature which are leading to the destruction of many other species and possibly our own as well.


Spiegelman. ch6. of Maus I, “Mouse Trap,” summary

by Corry Shores
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Art Spiegelman

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol.1

Ch. 6
Mouse Trap



Brief summary:

We learn from Mala that perhaps Vladek’s extreme stinginess may perhaps not be from his traumas during the war, since other survivor friends do not behave this way. Vladek recalls the difficult period when they had to hide in sympathetic people’s houses (although always paying them), at times living for days in a basement without food. Against Anja’s better judgment, they trust smugglers to take them from Poland to Hungary, where (at this time at least) they would be safer. The smuggler’s deceived them, and they are instead captured by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz. We learn finally that Vladek burned Anja’s diaries from this period in a fit of despair following her suicide, even though Anja hoped Art would someday read them. Art is infuriated by this loss of a highly precious connection to his deceased mother, and he calls Vladek a murderer.




[We begin of course in the present.] Vladek’s door is unlocked, and so Art enters himself. He sees Mala crying in the kitchen. She is upset because she cannot live with Vladek any more. “He treats me as if I were just a maid or his nurse … worse! […] At least a maid has some days off and gets paid! He only gives me $50.00 a month. When I need a pair of stockings I have to use my own savings!” Art replies that this is how he always was. “Whenever I needed school supplies or new clothes Mom would have to plead and argue for weeks before he’d cough up any dough!” (130). Mala says that when she argues with Vladek, he moans like he is having a heart attack, which forces her to stop, even though he might be faking it [recall from the last chapter that Vladek had something like a minor heart attack]. “I feel like I’m in prison!” She continues, “I feel like I’m going to burst!” (130). Mala then says that after they married, she told Vladek that she needed clothes, and he only offered Anja’s (his prior wife’s) clothing. Art thinks it is because of the camps, but Mala says neither she nor other friends who also survived have Vladek’s disposition.


[[Note here that a running theme, that Vladek is obsessively conservational on account of his traumas during the war,  is now called into question, and the observation is made that many survivors did not end up this way.]] Art then expresses a concern. He is drawing his father and characterizing him [all perhaps in a way which intends to deconstruct the prejudicial metaphors and beliefs espoused by the Nazi’s], but instead, “in some ways he’s just like the racist caricature of the miserly old Jew” (131). 


[[For example, in an interview Art gave in 1991, he explains that the idea of ‘dehumanizing’ the characters into animal form comes from the Nazis’ own propaganda campaigns. “This particular menagerie, I tend to think of it as humans with animal heads. And these are animals that stand up and insist on their own humanity in spite of the fact that building something around this highly flawed notion. In that sense, this is Hitler’s idea, not mine. He said, ‘the Jews are certainly a race, but they are not human.’ He slated Jews for extermination, which is not something that is done to people, it is done to pests, to vermin.” From: “The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Maus (Art Spiegelman)”. In a sense, there is supposed to be a deconstructive sort of operation done to these stereotypes, but perhaps, Art’s concern seems to be, he is only reinforcing them.]] Mala says that Vladek has hundreds of thousands in the bank, but “he lives like a pauper!” For example, Vladek takes papers towels from public bathrooms so that he will not need to buy napkins or tissues. Just after Mala says she cannot understand how Anja lived with Vladek, he enters the room.

Art shows them both the image of the black market Jews hanged in Sosnowiec, and the next panel when Vladek says it still makes him cry [see chapter 4; this is a remarkably powerful image]. Mala observes, “It’s an important book. People who don’t usually read such stories will be interested” (133).


 [[This is an important issue, namely, that the story is told so well in this comic form. Spiegelman addresses it in the interview mentioned above, “The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Maus (Art Spiegelman)”. One of his ideas here is that the medium and the animal imagery and the simplification of the cartoon form enable a strong proximity and identification with the characters and events.]] Vadek says even he is interested, even though he never reads comics. Mala observes he would be interested, since it is his own story. Vladek replies that he knows the story by heart, but he is still interested in its comics form. Mala says it will be very successful [and indeed it was!], and Vladek says Art will be famous like Walt Disney. Art then leaves to get a pencil, saying “I’ve just gotta write this conversation down before I forget it!” (133).

Vladek welcomes them to the garden, but Mala excuses herself to the hairdresser. Vladek complains that she went just a week ago: “she sees more often the hairdresser than she sees me!” (134). Mala then complains that she cannot even leave briefly without Vladek making her feel guilty. After she leaves, Vladek complains that she is hard to endure, and Art suggests he and Vladek go sit in the garden. Vladek continues to complain about Mala, saying that she often threatens to leave him, to which Vladek apparently replies that if she does, she cannot come back (134).

As they emerge outdoors, Art suggests Vladek and Mala see a marriage counselor. Vladek says he does not want to confide private stories with a stranger. He also recalls that long ago he was warned by a lawyer that Mala is “money-conscious” (135). Vladek again mentions how Mala wanted to change the will just a month after settling on a version. Art says the reason to see a therapist is not about the will but about how to get along better. Vladek replies that with Mala, the issue is not getting along but rather it is just about money for her. Art then says, “I give up … I don’t know what to say,” and he begins asking about Vladek and Anja (135). As Vladek covers his legs with a blanket, Art asks, “what happened in 1944, after you left Srodula?” [intervening single panel cut to past, following later with the past on the next page].

[[The interjected past panel is visually similar to the swastika road formation from when the story left off in the prior chapter. We also notice again the visual combination of past and present.]] Vladek and Anja were sneaking back to Sosnowiec in the dark, trying to keep themselves hidden. They first go to Richieu’s governess, Janina [who is apparently a non-Jewish Pole, since she remained safely in town and is in pig form]. Janina sends them away immediately, since she is worried they will bring trouble. They are wearing their pig-masks [meaning that they are trying to appear as non-Jewish Poles.] Anja suggests they go to her father’s old house, since they might get some help from the janitor, Lukowski, who has known the family for years. Vladek notes that he is pretty well disguised, since he is wearing the sort of coat and boots that a Gestapo would wear when not in the service. But Anja was more vulnerable, since she was more visibly Jewish. They arrive at the house, and Lukowski lets them in (136).

[[Note the masks, especially when they are removed.]] Just as Anja was saying thank God there are still kind people left, “an old witch recognized Anja from her window” and yelled, “There’s a Jewess in the courtyard! Police!” (137). Vladek and Anja then hurry to the shed. Later Lukowski arrives and assures them probably no one heard the old woman, who is a little senile anyway. Vladek goes out alone to “scout around,” and it is nearly morning at the time. On the street Vladek hears someone following him (137). If Vladek walked slow, so did the pursuer; or if fast, the same as well. Finally, when they are alone, the man, also wearing a pig mask, asks “amcha?” which is Hebrew for “our nation?” Vladek affirms reluctantly, “a-amcha” (138). The man confides that he too is a Jew, hiding in Sosnowiec with his wife.


[[Note how in the first two panels, before we learn the pursuer is a Jew too, that the left border of the panel frame cuts-off the edge of his mask. So at first, we do not know whether or not he is non-Jewish or hiding it. The angle here is from Vladek’s side, which along with the man’s body language, makes the encounter seem confrontational. Then in the next panel, when it is revealed that he is wearing a mask, the angle changes to the pursuer’s perspective, which again along with the body language, makes the encounter suddenly become welcoming and friendly.]] The man suggests Vladek go to the black market on Dekerta street. At first there was no one there, but then a woman offers Vladek food that could be purchased without coupons. “She showed to me sausages, eggs, cheese … Things I only was able to dream about.” He buys some, and goes quickly back to Anja (138). He surprises Anja with all the wonderful goods. She thinks it is miraculous, asking how he managed it. Vladek replies, “I’m a magician! Have some milk” (139). [Single panel cut to the present.] Vladek says he goes back to the Dekerta black market, where “he could change jewelry for marks – and marks for food, or a place to stay” (139). There he saw more people, even some Jewish boys he knew before the war. He tells them [who are also wearing pig masks] that he needs a hiding place. They suggest he goes to Mrs. Kawka’s farm on the outskirts of town. She might take them if they pay. They go there, and she agrees to let them stay in her barn, as long as they promise to pretend they do not know her if they are ever caught.

1.139.10[[Here the image is shown through a window, which gives a feeling of secrecy. We see also the mask in his hand, suggesting perhaps both a commitment to the disguise but also a humiliating admission it is fake. The angle is a bit imbalanced, which along with the body language, gives the scene a strong feeling of tension. The pattern on the exterior wall surrounding the window adds to this sense of confrontation, fear, and mistrust, since it looks a bit like lighting. Overall the structural lines seem skewed, which gives it an expressionist mood of uncertainty and the feeling that something is wrong.]]

Thus they live in the barn with Kawka’s cow [[we note the obvious dehumanization and animalization of the situation]]. When Vladek says he will leave for the market, Anja gets distressed, since she becomes terrified when left alone there. Vladek explains it is necessary and temporary.

[[Note the inclusion of the cow. Here we have both the animal forms of the humans and the pure animal of the cow.]] [Perhaps because the barn was so far away,] Vladek took a streetcar into town. There was a car for Germans and officials and another for regular Poles. Vladek would always use the official car, since he would have been quickly detected as a Polish Jew in the Pole car.

[[Here again we note the fluidity of identity.]] Vladek goes to the black market and meets a woman, Mrs. Motonowa, whom he has become friendly with and has been buying goods from. This time he buys bread from her. She cannot make change, but he [perhaps uncharacteristically] wants her to keep the change so that she can use it for her young boy. She then offers Vladek and Anja to stay at her house. Her husband comes home just 10 days every three months, so they will have to stay hidden during those times. She even offers to escort them there, since it is a bit far away. On their trip, they pretend different roles so to disguise themselves. Vladek walks with Motonowa like her husband would, and Anja walks with Motonowa’s son like a governess.

[[Here notice not only the masks, but as well Vladek’s uncharacteristic behavior of being generous. One interesting element in the Maus stories are the economics, how in the absence of other social structures and bonds that once held, what instead creates those bonds are temporary economic ties. One way we might look at this scene is that the generosity built a structure, or a ‘pack’, using Canetti’s term. In other words, perhaps without this and other economic acts, other flows of goods between them, the new living arrangement would not have been made. The other thing to observe is again the fluidity of identity and power of falsehood in the final panel.]]

The boy loved Anja, and she reminds him not to mention her or Vladek, since they will kill all of them. [Four panel cut to the present]. Art asks if they had to pay Mrs. Motonowa. Vladek says yes, since no one will risk their lives for nothing. And one time, when Vladek was unable to pay the full price for bread, Mrs. Motonowa claimed she could not get any, even though probably she could. Vladek overlooked this, understandingly, saying she was a good woman.

[[Note the first panel. There is a dynamic visual rhythm that is created with the distribution of characters, making your eyes jump between figures each evoking a different shade of feeling. We also see more on the economic relations, which are not understood by Vladek in a cold way but rather as somehow a strange mixture of pure business and a sense of loyalty or community.]] Anja even helps the boy learn German. When the teacher asks the boy how he improved so much, he cleverly tells her his mother helped him (142).

Vladek says that not everything was great about the situation. If anyone came, they had to hide in the closet. There was a close call even when Vladek sneezed while hiding. Then one day when Mrs. Motonowa was at the black market, she was searched by the Gestapo, who confiscated her goods. She is worried that they may come search her house, so she orders the Spiegelmans to leave. They then walk toward Sosnowiec, with Anja shaking in fear on the way. They speak German to disguise themselves.


[[We note the disguise of speaking in German.]]

They then hide in a large hole in a construction site.


[[Here we again see them reduced to a rodent-like, dehumanized existence.]] They return to the barn with the cow where they once lived. But now it is winter. Kawka says they can stay, as long as they promise to pretend Kawka has no knowledge of them being there, if caught. She sees Anja shivering, and takes her inside a while to warm up. Then she brings Vladek some food. He then says to Art, “In those days I was so strong I could sit even in the snow all night” (145). Vladek tells Kawka that he really wishes to leave Poland. She tells him that previously there was a young man and his son hiding in the barn, and two people smuggled them into Hungry, where they apparently are doing well now. Vladek excitedly says he wants to meet the smugglers (145). [Five panel cut to the present]. Vladek says the smugglers visit Thursday evenings, and that day was a Monday. Art is confused, because is not Hungry just as dangerous for Jews as Poland is? Vladek said at that time it was better in Hungry, but near the end of the war, all the Jews there were also sent to Auschwitz. Vladek was at Auschwitz, and he saw hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews there. “So many, it wasn’t even room enough to bury them all in the ovens. But at that time, when I was there with Kawka, we couldn’t know then” (146). The next day he goes to the Dekarta street black market, and he encounters Mrs. Motonowa. She expresses her guilt for having abandoned them. She invites them back. [Single panel cut to the present]. And that night they go back again (146).


But as soon as they got there, they receive news that Mrs. Motonowa’s husband is coming, and they will need to hide in the cellar for 10 days. They live there in the dark, co-habiting the space with rats.


[[Here we again see a real animal.]] Three days go by without Motonowa coming with food. They live off little candies. Since they cannot wash, Anja gets a terrible rash. Finally Motonowa comes down, and she explains she had to wait, because her husband was getting suspicious. Anja complains about the rats, but Motonowa notes they are better than the Gestapo, since rats will not kill them. [[It is ironic that they get better treatment from the rats than from the “humans”.]]


They finally get to live inside, but Vladek expresses his desire to live in Hungry instead (148).

[Since he will need to meet the smugglers at Kawka’s] he takes a streetcar the next Thursday to Sosnowiec. He was passing children. They were taught to fear Jews, and one of them starts yelling “Help! Mommy! A Jew!” [Single panel cut to the present.] Vladek approaches the mothers, saying “Heil Hitler,” and he tries to convince the children and the mothers he is not a Jew. He succeeds, but the experience was scary for him.


[[Here we have one of the most powerful examples so far of identity flexibility.]]

Vladek arrives, and the smugglers are in the kitchen. Vladek is sent to another room, where he sees a man named Mr. Mandelbaum, whom he knew from before the war. Mandelbaum owned a sweets shop that Anja and Vladek used to go to. Also there is his nephew Abraham, who was a “big member of the Jewish council” (150). They all gather with the smugglers, who describe their plans. They will take the Jews through the mountains, which Vladek observes is risky and expensive. The Jews discuss the proposition in Jewish. Vladek says he knows Kawka, but he is not sure if he can trust the smugglers. Abraham suggests that first he goes alone, then he will write back if he makes it safely. Vladek agrees to wait for the good letter from Abraham, and he would meet again there with Mandelbaum (150).

Anja does not like the idea. She feels safe with her current circumstances. Vladek raises the possibility that the Gestapo comes to search the house for black goods or that the husband comes and finds them. Anja resists. Mrs. Motonowa also says they should not do it, since they do not know anything about these smugglers. Anja replies “Snf. It’s like talking to a wall” (151) [[we might here notice Vladek’s stubbornness]]. Vladek reminds Anja that they will only go if they get assurances from Abraham. Mrs. Motonowa complains that she has been having nightmares since Vladek’s trip. Vladek then leaves them to find Miloch to see if he can help Miloch by giving over this place to him in case they go to Hungary.


[[Here we note the bond that was built between these cousins and not with the others, which is based on a flow of exchange.]] [Single panel cut to the present.] At Miloch’s house, he is hidden by his former janitor, who is a non-Jewish Pole. While there, the Janitor is entertaining company, so she must wait to take Vladek to Miloch. The janitor introduces Vladek as her own cousin. The guests complain that they are out of vodka, and one says, “Bah! She’s hiding her vodka!” and another continues, “Just like she’s hiding Jews in her yard!” (152). The janitor and Vladek freeze out of fear, and the guests demand more vodka or else they will inform the Gestapo about the hidden Jews. Vladek tells them to relax, and he sends the janitor to get some vodka from the store, which appeases the guests. They all drank until midnight, when the guests left (152). The janitor takes trash to the backyard dumping receptacle. Miloch is hiding in a tiny chamber set inside the receptacle, and he lives there with his wife and child. Even though it is cold, he is glad that the decomposing garbage creates some heat. Vladek notifies him that people know already about them hiding there. Vladek tells MIloch about the possibility of him going to Hungry and that opening up the better place to hide.

Vladek goes back to Kawka’s to meet with Mandelbaum and the smugglers. Abraham [to all appearances at least] sent a letter confirming he was safe, so Vladek agrees to go ahead with the plans. Anja is still very reluctant, but Vladek finally convinces her. [Two panel cut to the present.] Vladek tells Miloch about how to get to the place in Szopenice to hide. He says also Miloch and his family survived there until after the war, but he himself and Anja were not so lucky.


When the day comes and they are at the train station, one of the partners leaves to use the phone. The other partner tells the Jews not to worry, because he is just going to phone ahead to notify the next group who will meet them at the border. But they were still worried, and rightfully so. They come to Bielsko-Biala where Vladek once had his factory. Then the smugglers disappear. The Gestapo burst in and catch them all. Afterward, they march the Jews through Bielsko, past even Vladek’s former factory (155).


The Nazis confiscate Vladek’s things. They even scoop all the shoe polish out of a can and find a gold watch Vladek had hidden inside, saying “Well, well … a gold watch. You Jews always have gold!” (156). [Five panel cut to the present.] Vladek says this watch was a marriage gift from his father-in-law. Art interrupts and asks what happened to Abraham. Vladek says Abraham ended up in a concentration camp, but first Vladek will finish his current story before telling about Abraham. They languish in a prison with little food and nothing to do. A non-Jewish Pole also there in the cell asks for someone who can write in German. They only allow letters written in German to be sent out of the cell, and if he can write a letter in German, he can send for a food parcel. Vladek knew how to write in German, so he writes the letter. When the package came, he offers Vladek some of it. “It was eggs there … it was even chocolates. … I was very lucky to get such goodies!” (156). A truck comes and takes about 100 of them. Vladek meets again with Anja, and he gives her many of the things from the food parcel. The truck then takes them to Auschwitz, and they know they are doomed never to return, since they knew well already of this place.


[Final cut back to the present]. After they opened the truck, men were pushed one way and women the other, thus splitting up Anja and Vladek with no knowledge if they ever would see each other again. Art then says, “This is where Mom’s diaries will be especially useful. They’ll give me some idea of what she went through while you were apart” (158). Vladek says she went through the same terrible sorts of experiences as he did. Art suggests that since it is cold, perhaps they could go upstairs to look for the notebooks. Vladek says he looked but he cannot find them. Art suggests they check the garage. Then Vladek admits, “These notebooks and other really nice things of mother… one time I had a very bad day … and all of these things I destroyed” (158). Art is in disbelief. Vladek explains he could not deal with the pain and the memories when she died, so he burned them. Art complains, “Christ! You save tons of worthless shit, and you …”. Vladek says he never read them, but he recalls Anja saying, “I wish my son, when he grows up, he will be interested by this” (159). Art is enraged that Vladek would deny Anja her wishes and Art his precious connection to his mother, and he accuses Vladek of being a murderer.


Vladek says Art should not yell at his father like this, and he reminds Art that he was so severely depressed when he did this that he “didn’t know if I’m coming or I’m going!” (159). Art apologizes and excuses himself to leave, and as he walks away, he says to himself, “murderer” (159). This ends book one of Maus.



Spielgelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol 1. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.


Or if otherwise noted:

Art Spiegelman. Television Program entitled, "The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Maus (Art Spiegelman)." University of Washington Television (UWTV). Available on youtube: https://youtu.be/BLVG3GNvHkU

Priest, Ch1 of Logic: A Very Short Introduction, “Validity: What Follows from What?”, summary

by Corry Shores

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Summary of

Graham Priest

Logic: A Very Short Introduction

Validity: What Follows from What?

Brief Summary:
“Logic is the study of what counts as a good reason for what, and why” (Priest, 1). An inference draws a conclusion from premisses (or from a premiss). It is valid if the conclusion follows from those premisses. It is deductively valid if it necessarily follows, that is, if no other conclusion could possibly follow, and it can be determined as such when “there is no situation in which all the premisses are true, but the conclusion is not.” An inductively valid inference is based on reasoning given in the premisses, yet other conclusions could also follow instead.


After noting how in common usage we say “being illogical” as a form of criticism meaning “to be confused, muddled, irrational,” Priest then asks, “But what is logic?” He then quotes from the Tweedledum and Tweedledee scene in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. Alice becomes “lost for words,” and the twins begin to attack her argumentatively [the following quotes from Carroll]:

‘I know what you are thinking about’, said Tweedledum: ‘but it isn’t so, nohow.’

‘Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be: but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.’

We see Tweedledee reasoning, which is what logic is all about (1).

Priest writes:

We all reason. We try to figure out what is so, reasoning on the basis of what we already know. We try to persuade others that something is so by giving them reasons. Logic is the study of what counts as a good reason for what, and why.

We need to grasp this claim in a certain way, and to work our way to this understanding, we now examine two inferences [quoting Priest]:

1. Rome is the capital of Italy, and this plane lands in Rome; so the plane lands in Italy.

2. Moscow is the capital of the USA; so you can’t go to Moscow without going to the USA.

As we see, each case above has a final clause ending with ‘so’. All the claims coming before the so are called premisses. They give reasons. The claims coming after ‘so’ are called conclusions, and they “are what the reasons are supposed to be reasons for” (3). Priest notes, “The first piece of reasoning is fine; but the second is pretty hopeless,” since “the premiss, that Moscow is the capital of the USA, is simply false” (3). However, had instead this premiss been true, if for example somehow the US capital indeed was moved to Moscow, then the conclusion would also be true.

It would have followed from the premisses; and that is what logic is concerned with. It is not concerned with whether the premisses of an inference are true or false. That’s somebody else’s business (in this case, the geographer’s). It is interested simply in whether the conclusion follows from the premisses.

An inference is called valid when “the conclusion really does follow from the premisses;” “so the central aim of logic is to understand validity” (3).

Although this task of determining validity might seem like a dull and pointless mental exercise, it is actually bound up with “a number of important (and sometimes profound) philosophical questions” (3). Although we will work through some of them throughout the book, we for now will look more at validity.

Often two sorts of validity are distinguished. We first consider the following three inferences [quoting Priest]:

1. If the burglar had broken through the kitchen window, there | would be footprints outside; but there are no footprints; so the burglar didn’t break in through the kitchen window.

2. Jones has nicotine-stained fingers; so Jones is a smoker.

3. Jones buys two packets of cigarettes a day; so someone left footprints outside the kitchen window.

W begin with the first one. Since there are no footprints outside, the burglar did not break in through the kitchen window.

The first inference is a very straightforward one. If the premisses are true, so must the conclusion be. Or, to put it another way, the premisses couldn’t be true without the conclusion also being true. Logicians call an inference of this kind deductively valid.

Now turn to the second inference: Jones is a smoker since his fingers are stained with nicotine. Although the premisses give us good reason to draw the conclusion, they are not completely conclusively in making the inference, since there are other reasons Jones’ fingers might be nicotine-stained. For example, he could have made the stains without smoking just to trick people into believing he is a smoker. When the inference is not deductively valid, but still gives good reason for drawing a conclusion, it is said to be inductively valid. Now finally consider the third inference, that someone left footprints outside the kitchen window, since Jones buys two packs of cigarettes a day. It “by contrast, appears pretty hopeless by any standard. The premiss seems to provide no kind of reason for the conclusion at all. It is invalid – both deductively and inductively.” (4) If someone were really to give this argument, other people would assume that really there is a missing premiss, for example, “that someone passes Jones his cigarettes through the kitchen window” (4).

We often reason inductively; “for example, in trying to solve problems such as why the car has broken down, why a person is ill, or who committed a crime” (4). Nonetheless, in the history of logic, much more attention has been given to deductive logic, “maybe because logicians have tended to be philosophers or mathematicians” (4). Although we look more at inductive logic later, we for now concern ourselves with deductive validity. In fact, it is probably better to start with deductive inference, since it is more “cut-and-dried” (4d). So until we later shift attention to induction, for now “valid” means simply “deductively valid” (5a).

As we noted, a valid inference is one “where the premisses can’t be true without the conclusion also being true” (5). We now ask, what does the “can’t” here mean? In our normal usages of the term, it can mean ‘lacking ability,’ like “Mary can play the piano, but Jon can’t” (5). Or it can mean something like ‘not permitted by some code of rules,’ as in, “You can’t go in here: you need a permit” (5).

But in our usage, “It is natural to understand the ‘can’t’ relevant to the present case in this way: to say that the premisses can’t be true without the conclusion being true is to say that in all situations in which all the premisses are true, so is the conclusion” (5). But then, we might ask, what do we mean here by “situation?” That is, “What sorts of things go into their makeup, and how do these things relate to each other?” Also we might wonder, “what is it to be true?” (5).

We will return to these questions later, but for now let us consider the fact that this definition of deductive validity still has some problems. And, “In philosophy, all interesting claims are contentious” (5). The first problem is that we cannot really know what holds in all situations, since among them are situations on distant planets in the cosmos, situations in fictional works, and situations “imagined by visionaries” (5). And since there would also be an infinite number of such situations, it would be impossible to take them all into account (5-6). “So if this account of validity is correct, and given that we can recognize inferences as valid or invalid (at least in many cases) we must have some insight into this, from some special source” (6).

This source need not be “some sort of mystic intuition” (6). Priest suggests the possibility, following Chomsky, that there are a finite set of rules out of which the infinity of possible sentences can be formed, and also that these rules are hard-wired into our brain, so we know which of the infinitely many are correct or not just by reading them. [Perhaps Priest is further suggesting that also we can judge whether or not any supposed situation is true also on the basis of a finite set of rules that are hard-wired into us.]

Main Ideas of the Chapter

● A valid inference is one where the conclusion follows from the premiss(es).

● A deductively valid inference is one for which there is no situation in which all the premisses are true, but the conclusion is not.
(quoted from Priest, 6, boldface his)





Priest, Graham. Logic: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University, 2000.


Entry Directory, Priest, Logic: A Very Short Introduction

Corry Shores

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[Central Entry Directory]
[Logic & Semantics, Entry Directory]
[Graham Priest, entry directory]

Entry Directory for

Graham Priest

Logic: A Very Short Introduction


Ch.1 Validity: What Follows from What?


Priest, Graham. Logic: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University, 2000.