I love this book. We read excerpts of it in my Holocaust history class in college and I went out and got the book to read the rest of it. The chapter...moreI love this book. We read excerpts of it in my Holocaust history class in college and I went out and got the book to read the rest of it. The chapter on Shame is amazing, and his thoughts about a new language to really talk about the Holocaust since "cold" "thirsty" and "hungry" didn't come close to describing what they went through.
"I must repeat: we the survivors, are not the true witnesses."
"Perhaps it would be more correct to see in it an atavistic anguish whose echo one hears in the second verse of Genesis: not yet born or already extinguished."
"It would prove that man, the human species - we, in short - had the potential to construct and infinite enormity of pain, and that pain is the only force created from nothing, without cost and without effort. It is enough not to see, not to listen, not to act."
"For all of us survivors, who are not exactly polyglot, the first days in the Lager remain impressed in our memories like an out-of-focus and frenzied film, filled with a dreadful sound and fury signifying nothing."
"Considering that you were going to kill them all... what was the point of the humiliations, the cruelties?"
"'To condition those who were to be the material executors of the operations. To make it possible for them to do what they were doing.' In other words: before dying the victim must be degraded, so that the murderer will be less burdened by guilt. This is an explanation not devoid of logic but it shouts to heaven: it is the sole usefulness of useless violence."
"The aims of life are the best defense against death: and not only in the Lager."
"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what I have to say."
"(people like to say the SS were) Twisted individuals, ill-born, sadists, afflicted by an original flaw. Instead, they were made of the same cloth as we, they were average human beings, averagely intelligent, averagely wicked."
The beginning of the Old Testament is nice to read, but then it gets boring. I like the Gospels the best. If it wasn't for all the boring stuff in the...moreThe beginning of the Old Testament is nice to read, but then it gets boring. I like the Gospels the best. If it wasn't for all the boring stuff in the Old Testament I would have given it 5 stars.
Anyone else find it funny they list the author as Anonymous? (less)
**spoiler alert** If I could add more stars I would. This is my favorite book of all time. I've read it at least 4 times. I know most people think it'...more**spoiler alert** If I could add more stars I would. This is my favorite book of all time. I've read it at least 4 times. I know most people think it's a bore, but I enjoy the labor laws and rebellion parts. And how can you go wrong with so much death? I think that it is, no it IS my most quoted and highlighted book ever. I will share a few quotations with you now so you can tell if it is something you'd be interested in. Or maybe a book you read in school but didn't give it enough time.
"Got a lot of sinful idears - but they seem kinda sensible."
"How can we live without our lives? How do we know it's us without our past?"
"The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on."
"You who hate change and fear revolution Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other. Here is the anlage of the thing you fear. This is the zygote. For here "I lost my land" is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate - "We lost our land." The Danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first "we" there grows a still more dangerous thing: "I have a little food" plus "I have none." If from this problem the sum is "We have a little food," The thing is on its way, the movement has direction. Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor, are ours. The two men squatting in a ditch, the little fire, the side-meat stewing in a single pot, the silent, stone-eyed woman; behind, the children listening with their souls to words their minds to not understand... This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning - from 'I' to 'We'."
"Go down an' tell 'em. Go down in the street an' rot an' tell 'em that way. That's the way you can talk."
"And night came, and it was such a night that one knew that human eyes would not witness it and survive. ...See what men do when they know they have t...more"And night came, and it was such a night that one knew that human eyes would not witness it and survive. ...See what men do when they know they have to die."
"Nothing belongs to us any more; they take away our clothes, our shoes, even our hair; if we speak, they will not listen to use, and if they listen, they will not understand. They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we will have to find ourselves the strength to do so, to manage somehow so that behind the name something of us, of us as we were, still remains."
"Warum?' I asked him in my poor German. 'Hier ist kein warum' (there is no why here) he replied."
"Precisely because the Lager was a great machine to reduce us to beasts, we must not become beasts... the power to refuse our consent... not because the regulation states it, but for dignity and propriety... To remain alive, not to begin to die."
"Or is it raining, windy and you have the usual hunger, and then you think that if you really had to, if you really felt nothing in your heart but suffering and tedium... in that case, at any moment you want you could always go and touch the electric wire-fence, or throw yourself under the shunting trains, and then it would stop raining."
I've read it twice, it's really amazing. My grandpa got it for me at Christmas, or my dad, something, and I thought it was about the Chicago Fire. The...moreI've read it twice, it's really amazing. My grandpa got it for me at Christmas, or my dad, something, and I thought it was about the Chicago Fire. Then I read the back. I thought "Ugh why did he get me a book?" even though I read a lot on Vietnam at that time, I liked eye witness books from people who lived it. But this is REALLY good. Usually when I judge something quickly it turns out to be opposite. So now I try to judge everything to be horrible so it turns out to be awesome.
"You cry when your friends are killed, but a new friend comes in on the helicopter a few days later, and the dead friend becomes enshrined, a martyr to friendship. You teach the new friend about him, and you all remember him. It's very romantic."
"I'd like to kill them too not the kids but who gives a shit anymore it's all the same too hard to draw lines seen too many dead kids and I don't feel bad for them anymore."
"Suffering without meaning, except in the suffering itself."
"When this shit gunna let up?
Well, they keep this up, they goan' run outa ammo before too long.
Don't hold your breath, Sarge. We might run outa people first."
"I hate it. Goddamn it, I hate it. But I miss it."(less)
If you are going to read one holocaust book it should either be this or Night.
"Suddenly a voice began to sing. Others joined in, and the sound swelled...moreIf you are going to read one holocaust book it should either be this or Night.
"Suddenly a voice began to sing. Others joined in, and the sound swelled into a mighty choir. They sang firs the Czechoslovak national anthem and then the Hebrew song 'Hatikvah'. And all this time the SS men never stopped their brutal beatings. It was as if they regarded the singing as a last kind of protest which they were determined to stifle if they could To be allowed to die together was the only comfort left to these people. Singing their national anthem they were saying a last farewell to their breif but flourishing past, a past which had enabled them to live for twenty years in a democratic state, a respected minority enjoying equal rights. And when they sang 'Hatikvah', now the national anthem of the state of Israel, they were glancing into the future, but it was a future which they would not be allowed to see."
(A girl talking to the author in the gas chambers) "We must die, but you still have a chance to save your life. You have to return to the camp and tell everybody about our last hours... One more thing,' she went on, 'you can do me one last favor: this gold chain round my neck: when I'm dead, take it off and give it to my boyfriend Sasha. He works in the bakery. Remember me to him. Say Love from Yana. When it's all over, you'll find me here.' She pointed at a place next to the concrete pillar where I was standing. Those were her last words."
"Heaps of clothes lay strewn all over the concrete floor of the changing room, the Stars of David like a drift of yellow flowers on the ground."
"Do you really think that, without the hope that such a world is possible, that the rights of man will be restored again, we could stand the concentra...more"Do you really think that, without the hope that such a world is possible, that the rights of man will be restored again, we could stand the concentration camp even for one day? It is that very hope that makes people go without a murmur to the gas chambers, keeps them from risking a revolt, paralyses them into numb inactivity. It is hope that breaks down family ties, makes mothers renounce their children, or wives sell their bodies for bread, or husbands to kill. It is hope that compels man to hold on to one more day of life, because that day may be the day of liberation. Ah, and not even hope for a different, better world, but simply for life, a life of peace and rest. Never before in the history of mankind has hope been stronger than man, but never also has it done so much harm as it has in this war, in this concentration camp. We were never taught how to give up home, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers."
"'It is our last fight, you understand?' 'I understand.' I told him, 'YOu will go to my mother and tell her I died. Died so that there would be no more borders. Or wars. Or concentration camps. You will tell her?' 'I will tell her.'"
"And even if nothing is left to use but our bodies on the hospital bunk, we shall still have our memories and our feelings."
"The fire in the crematorium has been extinguished, but the smoke has not yet settles. I would not like to have our bodies used as kindling. Nor would I want to light the fires. I want to live, that is all."(less)