Jean Améry

Austria, 1912 - 1978

Jean Améry (born Hans Chaim Mayer) was one of the most important European essayists of his time. Being part Jewish and a resistance member, he survived the concentration camps Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen during the Second World War. After the war, he changed his name to symbolically distance himself from German culture. He moved to Brussels, and wrote several novels and collections of essays, including At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor of Auschwitz and its Realities (1980), one of the most important texts documenting the experience of the Holocaust, and On Suicide (1999), a collections of essays on voluntary death. Améry himself died by his own hand, in a hotel room in Salzburg in 1978.