We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark.
And I, the former mystic, was thinking: Yes, man is stronger, greater than God. When Adam and Eve deceived You, You chased them from paradise. When You were displeased by Noah's generation, You brought down the Flood. When Sodom lost Your favour, You caused the heavens to rain down fire and damnation. But look at these men whom You have betrayed, allowing them to be tortured, slaughtered, gassed, and burned, what do they do? They pray before You! They praise Your name!
It is obvious that the war which Hitler and his accomplices waged was a war not only against Jewish men, women, and children, but also against Jewish religion, Jewish culture, Jewish tradition, therefore Jewish memory.
We 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.
Bread, soup - these were my whole life. I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time.
It was like a page torn from a history book, from some historical novel about the captivity of babylon or Spanish Inquisition.
Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness?
It was pitch dark. I could hear only the violin, and it was as though Juliek's soul were the bow. He was playing his life. The whole of his life was gliding on the strings--his last hopes, his charred past, his extinguished future. He played as he would never play again...When I awoke, in the daylight, I could see Juliek, opposite me, slumped over, dead. Near him lay his violin, smashed, trampled, a strange overwhelming little corpse.
Everybody around us was weeping. Someone began to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I don't know whether, during the history of the Jewish people, men have ever before recited Kaddish for themselves.
Listen to me, kid. Don't forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is every many for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even you father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone. Let me give you good advice: stop giving your ration of bread and soup to your old father. You cannot help him anymore. And you are hurting yourself. In fact, you should be getting his rations...
For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.
Never 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 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.
He explained to me with great insistence that every question posessed a power that did not lie in the answer.
Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to life as long as God himself
Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.
I am not so naïve as to believe that this slim volume will change the course of history or shake the conscience of the world. Books no longer have the power they once did. Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow.
Next to him lay his violin, trampled, an eerily poignant little corpse.
I shall always remember that smile. From what world did it come from?
One more stab to the heart, one more reason to hate. One less reason to live.
I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it . . .
The world? The world is not interested in us. Today, everything is possible, even the crematoria...
In the beginning there was faith - which is childish; trust - which is vain; and illusion - which is dangerous.
More Elie Wiesel Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - War & Peace - God - World - Memory - Duty - Life - History - Night - Fathers - Children - Time - Books - People - Communities - Power - Soul - Hope - Desire - View All Elie Wiesel Quotations
More Elie Wiesel Quotations (By Book Titles)
Paulo Coelho - Ernest Hemingway - Jack Higgins - J. R. R. Tolkien - Honore de Balzac - Fyodor Dostoevsky - Erich Segal - Anne Rice - Amy Tan - Alexander Dumas