Important Quotations Explained
shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned
my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times
sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the
little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths
of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. ..
For more than half an hour [the child in the noose] stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows. . . .”
were masters of nature, masters of the world. We had forgotten everything—death,
fatigue, our natural needs. Stronger than cold or hunger, stronger
than the shots and the desire to die, condemned and wandering, mere
numbers, we were the only men on earth.
At last, the morning star appeared in the gray sky. A trail of indeterminate light showed on the horizon. We were exhausted. We were without strength, without illusions.
Eliahou’s son] had felt that his father was growing weak, he had
believed that the end was near and had sought this separation in
order to get rid of the burden, to free himself from an encumbrance
which could lessen his own chances of survival.
I had done well to forget that. And I was glad that Rabbi Eliahou should continue to look for his beloved son.
And, in spite of myself, a prayer rose in my heart, to that God in whom I no longer believed.
My God, Lord of the Universe, give me strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son has done.
day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted
to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had
not seen myself since the ghetto.
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me.
The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.
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