File:Yehiel Dinur Katzetnik.jpg

Yehiel De-Nur or Dinur, ('De-Nur' means 'of the fire' in Aramaic), born Yehiel Feiner (16 May 1909 - 17 July 2001), was a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor best known for his 1955 novel The House of Dolls, which he claimed was inspired by his time as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Early lifeEdit

Yehiel De-Nur was born in Sosnowiec (Poland).

Writings at AuschwitzEdit

During World War II De-Nur spent two years as a prisoner in Auschwitz. In 1945, he moved to British-mandate Palestine (later Israel) and became a writer-historian survivor who wrote several works in Hebrew, which stemmed from his experience in the camp, under the identity he had been given by the guards at Auschwitz: Ka-Tzetnik 135633 (sometimes listed as "K. Tzetnik"). Ka-Tzetnik means "Concentration Camper" in Yiddish (deriving from "kat zet", the pronunciation of KZ, the abbreviation for Konzentrationslager); 135633 was De-Nur's concentration camp number. He also used the name Karl Zetinski (Karol Cetinsky, again. the derivation from "KZ") as a refugee, hence the confusion over his 'real' name when his works were first published [1].

De-Nur presented his writings as an attempt to chronicle his time at Auschwitz. He wrote using the name Ka-Tzetnik 135633 (which he denied was a pseudonym or pen name but was what his time in Auschwitz had made him) for some time before his civic identity was revealed at the trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann at court session 68 of the trial on 7 June 1961.[2] After an opening statement in which De-Nur described Auschwitz as the "planet of the ashes", but before he was able to answer the general questions about Auschwitz that the prosecuting Attorney-General had prepared for him, De-Nur fainted and was subsequently unable to resume his testimony.

The House of DollsEdit

Among his most famous works was 1955's The House of Dolls,[3] which described the "Joy Division", an alleged Nazi system keeping Jewish women as sex slaves in concentration camps. He suggests that the subject of the book was his younger sister, who did not survive the Holocaust. However, he did not have a sister.[4] In his book Piepel, about alleged Nazi sexual abuse of young boys, he suggests the subject of this book was his younger brother, who also died in a concentration camp.[5] While De-Nur's books are still a part of the high-school curriculum, modern Israeli critics like Na'ama Shik consider The House of Dolls pornographic fiction,[6] not least because sexual relations with Jews were strictly forbidden to all Aryan citizens of Nazi Germany.

Its publication was an early case of the Nazi exploitation genre of popular literature, known in Israel as Stalag fiction.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1976, because of recurring nightmares and depression, he subjected himself to a form of psychedelic psychotherapy from Dr. Jan Bastiaans that included the use of LSD; the visions experienced during this therapy became the basis for his book, Shivitti.[7]

He died of cancer in Tel Aviv on July 17, 2001.




  1. Who were you, Karl Zetinski?, Tom Segev, Haaretz, July 27, 2001
  2. The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Session 68 (Part 1 of 9), Nizkor Project, June 7, 1961
  3. House of Dolls (Beit ha-bubot),, 2002
  4. [1] Tom Segev, Breaking the Code, Haaretz, April 23, 2009.
  6. Israel’s Unexpected Spinoff From a Holocaust Trial, Isabel Kershner, New York Times, September 6, 2007

External links Edit

fr:Yehiel De-Nur it:Yehiel De-Nur he:יחיאל די-נור nl:Ka-tzetnik ja:イェヒエル・デ・ヌール pl:Yehiel De-Nur fi:Yehiel De-Nur

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