This essay attends to the testimonies of the Auschwitz survivors Primo Levi and Jean Améry through the lens of Giorgio Agamben's demand that we confront the challenge to the meaning of the human posed by those who did not survive—the Musselmann. It argues that Levi's experiences of shame as an oppression and Améry's depiction of the shame of destruction, reveal that shame, the self-reflexive affect that simultaneously acknowledges our vulnerability to the power and judgments of the other and rebels against the violence of degradation, in salvaging Levi's and Améry's humanity, provides the ground for an ethics and politics that tackles the question of the meaning of the human posed by the Musselmann of Auschwitz.

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