Friday, April 01, 2016

'If I am not for myself, who will be for me? '

A Time of Bullies

Roger Cohen, NYT
APRIL 1, 2016

Every Jew of the second half of the 20th century was a child of the Holocaust. So was all humanity. Survival could only be a source of guilt, whether spoken or unspoken. We bore the imprint of departed souls.

The silence that descended was the silence of the lost. It seems to me that I was raised in silence and that I was far from alone in that. Language could not accommodate such a volume of ashes. Death’s German mastery lingered. The new European prosperity was an epilogue to the unspeakable, its disguise.

Beneath the gleaming postwar surfaces there lurked the indelible stain of barbarism. A human stain, the bruise of complicity in all its shades.

After a while I wanted to understand the things unsaid in the rush to build on the ruins. The covered-over came after me. As a child of the repetitively displaced, I was perhaps a natural target for smothered memory. I wanted to understand where I came from. I wanted to understand my mother’s madness. Never should it be forgotten how onerous it is to forget.

(More here.)

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