Thursday, April 9, 2009


I am "reading" the Night by Elie Wiesel. The word reading is between quotation marks because I don't actually read it in the strict sense of the word -- have the audio book version. The actor who reads it for me makes the story even more real by intonation and emphasis. I am not done with reading it yet but I could not resist to write down some of the thoughts that cross my mind while listening to it.

Fist and foremost, I feel sadness diluted with anger. I naively -- and because I am an eternal optimist -- keep hoping that violence and mercilessness will disappear from the story. But no, they stay, and their appearance is becoming even more striking as the story unfolds. I feel tears building up in my eyes as I go on with the "reading".

My most shocking experience with this excellent book is that whenever I hear an episode of horror -- that was actually witnessed by the author and millions of others -- I am trying to remember it and hoping that I can tell about it to G. But every time I think of an episode as the most horrifying another episode comes along that is -- impossibly! -- even more horrifying.

I always knew about the Holocaust and I always felt compassion toward the Jews and anger toward those who tortured them; but to actually hear about it from a witness, from someone who has been there and miraculously survived it, puts the whole issue into a different perspective. These people were REAL people, who simply wanted to live. They did not even believe, when they heard the news, that extermination camps existed. They were hopeful an optimistic, even when on the train that took most of them to a final destination. My heart breaks while listening to this account.

I think humanity should be obliged to keep these accounts alive, to publish them as much as possible. I think humanity needs these accounts -- from time to time -- to be shoved at its face so that no one ever forgets what happened in WWII. I think it is necessary to remember these stories and learn from them never to let such a thing happen.

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