(1912-1978) was an Austrian writer of Jewish descent whose essays were profoundly influenced by his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen during the war. He was initially arrested for his actions as a member of the Belgian resistance movement, after which he was tortured by the Gestapo. His birth name had been Hans Mayer, but he felt bound to change this after the war in an effort to separate himself from Germany. His best known works include ‘At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities
’ and ‘On Aging
’. His work is remarkable for its clarity of voice and argument; he did not believe in forgiveness, nor in people attempting to reach universal definitions of what the Holocaust meant, believing that this would then too easily consign it to history. Another highly notable work was ‘On Suicide: A Discourse on Voluntary Death’, which explored why a person may make the decision to end their life and how this could be seen as a rational choice. Like many with his experiences, Amery himself committed suicide at the age of 65.