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L'intima relazione : note sul Diario di Etty Hillesum

2019 - Il Poligrafo

P. 139-154

  • "Intimate relationship" is, in the first place, the relationship that the young Dutch Jewess Etty Hillesum had with her therapist Julius Spier since February 1941. This relationship is the one that deeply changed her already complex existence. A therapist, a teacher, a confidant, a friend, a lover: Spier helped Etty Hillesum to develop a way to approach her soul's "inner sources", giving a completely different meaning to her own life. The "Intimate relationship" represents also the relationship that Hillesum has with her own self, which can be conceived as a daily process of "self-listening" and writing in a diary, which is, at the same time, a mirror, a witness and a medicine for her anxieties. Through a never-ending process of writing and inner introspection, Etty manages to achieve a deep personal transformation, that brings her to confront herself with the dramatic events of her time, to the violence and deportations of the Jew population occurred in the Poland occupied by the Germans.
  • The Jewish population, to which she feels extremely close, almost prevents her to distinguish between her own individual fate and the collective destiny of the victims of the Nazi oppression. The "Intimate relationship" shows also a new kind of awareness, developed by Hillesum. Awareness appears in the last notes of her Diary as well as in the letters written while she was convicted in Westerbork Camp. The silence of her intimacy is put to the test by the harsh reality, her "I" turns out to be essentially relational, "made of the world", crossed by its pattern, inhabited by a "fragile" God, an "I" that has to be taken care of and helped with patience. Therefore, the "I" is strictly connected to the "Other", to its being and its suffering, in an intimate bond, that could be ignored or denied only by the identity's selfish being or by the rational abstraction. [Publisher's text]

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Paradosso : rivista di filosofia : 1, 2019