Archive for the ‘Elie Wiesel’ Category

man is not only an executioner, not only a victim, not only a spectator: he is all three at once

October 30, 2009

In Night, Elie Wiesel describes how a father and a son fight each other to death for a piece of bread:

(The old man) collapsed. His fist was still clenched around a small piece. He tried to carry it to his mouth. But the other one threw himself upon him and snatched it. The old man again whispered something, let out a rattle, and died amid the general indifference. His son searched him, took the bread, and began to devour it. He was not able to get very far. Two men had seen and hurled themselves upon him. Others joined him. When they withdrew, next to me were two corpses, side by side, the father and the son.
I was fifteen years old.

Wiesel reflected later:

Deep down, I thought, man is not only an executioner, not only a victim, not only a spectator: he is all three at once.

Elie Wiesel, In his novel The Town Beyond the Wall.

Advertisements

Nothing justifies Auschwitz. Were the Lord Himself to offer me a justification, I think I would reject it. Treblinka erases all justifications and all answers

October 29, 2009

Nothing justifies Auschwitz. Were the Lord Himself to offer me a justification, I think I would reject it. Treblinka erases all justifications and all answers.

The barbed-wire kingdom will forever remain an immense question mark on the scale of both humanity and its Creator. Faced with unprecedented suffering and agony, He should have intervened, or at least expressed Himself. Which side was He on? Isn’t He the Father of us all? It is in this capacity that He shatters our shell and moves us. How can we fail to pity a father who witnesses the massacre of his children by his other children?…

…by allowing this to happen, God was telling humanity something, and we don’t know what it was. That He suffered? He could have–should have–interrupted His own suffering by calling a halt to the martyrdom of innocents. I don’t know why He did not do so and I think I never shall. Perhaps that is not His concern. But I find myself equally ignorant as regards men. I will never understand their moral decline, their fall. There was a time when everything roused anger, even revolt, in me against humanity. Later I felt mainly sadness, for the victims.

Elie Wiesel, Memoirs, vol.1, p.105