This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen Quotes

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This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski
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This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen Quotes Showing 1-16 of 16
“What a curious power words have.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“There can be no beauty if it is paid for by human injustice, nor truth that passes over injustice in silence, nor moral virtue that condones it.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“Despite the madness of war, we lived for a world that would be different. For a better world to come when all this is over. And perhaps even our being here is a step towards that world. 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 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 the 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 the war, in this concentration camp. We were never taught how to give up hope, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“You know how much I used to like Plato. Today I realize he lied. For the things of this world are not a reflection of the ideal, but a product of human sweat, blood and hard labour. It is we who built the pyramids, hewed the marble for the temples and the rocks for the imperial roads, we who pulled the oars in the galleys and dragged wooden ploughs, while they wrote dialogues and dramas, rationalized their intrigues by appeals in the name of the Fatherland, made wars over boundaries and democracies. We were filthy and died real deaths. They were 'aesthetic' and carried on subtle debates.
There can be no beauty if it is paid for by human injustice, nor truth that passes over injustice in silence, nor moral virtue that condones it.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power and power is obtained with money. To work is senseless, because money cannot be obtained through work, but through exploitation of others. And if we cannot exploit as much as we wish, at least let us work as little as we can. Moral duty? We believe neither in the morality of man nor in the morality of systems. [p. 168]”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“Real hunger is when one man regards another man as something to eat.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“I smile and I think that one human being must always be discovering another - through love. And that this is the most important thing on earth, and the most lasting.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
tags: love
“It is the camp law: people going to their death must be deceived to the very end.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“But this is how it is done: first just one ordinary barn, brightly whitewashed—and here they proceed to asphyxiate people. Later, four large buildings, accommodating twenty thousand at a time without any trouble. No hocus-pocus, no poison, no hypnosis. Only several men directing traffic to keep operations running smoothly, and the thousands flow along like water from an open tap. All this happens just beyond the anaemic trees of the dusty little wood. Ordinary trucks bring people, return, then bring some more. No hocus-pocus, no poison, no hypnosis.

Why is it that nobody cries out, nobody spits in their faces, nobody jumps at their throats? We doff our caps to the S.S. men returning from the little wood; if our name is called we obediently go with them to die, and—we do nothing. We starve, we are drenched by rain, we are torn from our families. What is this mystery? This strange power of one man over another? This insane passivity that cannot be overcome? Our only strength is our great number—the gas chambers cannot accommodate all of us.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“Between two throw-ins in a soccer game, right behind my back, three thousand people had been put to death.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“We are laying the foundation for some new, monstrous civilization. Only now do I realize what price was paid for building the ancient civilizations. The Egyptian pyramids, the temples and Greek statues—what a hideous crime they were! How much blood must have poured on to the Roman roads, the bulwarks, and the city walls. Antiquity—the tremendous concentration camp where the slave was branded on the forehead by his master, and crucified for trying to escape! Antiquity—the conspiracy of the free men against the slaves!
.... If the Germans win the war, what will the world know about us? They will erect huge buildings, highways, factories, soaring monuments. Our hands will be placed under every brick, and our backs will carry the steel rails and the slabs of concrete. They will kill off our families, our sick, our aged. They will murder our children.
And we shall be forgotten, drowned out by the voices of the poets, the jurists, the philosophers, the priests. They will produce their own beauty, virtue, and truth. They will produce religion.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“I think that for those who have suffered unjustly, justice alone is not enough. They want the guilty to suffer unjustly too. Only this will they understand as justice.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“For quite some time now, like the foetus inside a womb, a terrible knowledge had been ripening within me and filling my soul with frightened foreboding: that the Infinite Universe is inflating at incredible speed, like some ridiculous soap bubble. I become obsessed with a miser's piercing anxiety whenever I allow myself to think that the Universe may be slipping out into space, like water through cupped hands, and that, ultimately—perhaps even today, perhaps not till tomorrow or for several light years—it will dissolve for ever into emptiness, as though it were made not of solid matter but only of fleeting sound.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“But I think we should speak about all the things that are happening around us. We are not evoking evil irresponsibly or in vain, for we have now become a part of it...”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“We were never taught how to give up hope, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
“We said that there is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons; he will commit them first out of duty, then from habit, and finally -for pleasure.”
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen