Tzvetan Todorov, literary critic who studied moral aspects of the Holocaust, dies at 77

Ben Harris

(JTA) — Tvetan Todorov, a Bulgaria-born literary theorist who wrote about moral issues during the Holocaust, has died.

Todorov died Tuesday in Paris from multiple system atrophy, a progressive brain disorder, according to media reports. He was 77.

Todorov published a number of studies about the Holocaust. In “Facing the Extreme: Moral Life in the Concentration Camps,” first published in 1991, he suggested that despite the inhumanity of the conditions faced by prisoners of the Nazis, they did not succumb to an all-out war for survival but were actually capable of acts of generosity and help for one another.

“The Fragility of Goodness: Why Bulgaria’s Jews Survived the Holocaust,” published in 2001, argued that that motivations for the rescue of Bulgarian Jewry were more morally complex than many had imagined.

Todorov, a Sofia native, fled the communist regime for France when he was 24, becoming a French citizen in 1973.

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