In a conversation with the SS physician J. P. Kremer, his colleague Dr Heinz Thilo, a member of the SS staff of Auschwitz, called Auschwitz the anus mundi (the world’s anus—quotation after Sehn). We may infer that this trenchant epithet was an expression on the one hand of the revulsion and horror this concentration camp evoked in anyone who saw it, and on the other hand justified its existence by the need to purge the world. Catharsis, the motif of cleansing, so important in the life of every human individual, appears to play a salient role in the life of whole societies.

Anus Mundi by Wielsał Kielar