Thursday, February 7, 2008

If this is a man

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes or no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
(Prefatory text to the brilliant Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi)

SIDE BAR: Next week represents the 66th anniversary of the day the first transport of Jews from Bytom in German-annexed Upper Silesia to Auschwitz. Everyone on the first transport was killed almost immediately upon arrival with Zyklon B gas.

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