By Charlotte Delbo
Delbo’s beautiful and unflinching account of existence and dying lower than Nazi atrocity grows fiercer and richer with time. the wonderful new creation by way of Lawrence L. Langer illuminates the subtlety and complexity of Delbo’s meditation on reminiscence, time, culpability, and survival, within the context of what Langer calls the afterdeath’ of the Holocaust. Delbo’s robust trilogy belongs on each bookshelf.”Sara R. Horowitz, York University
Winner of the 1995 American Literary Translators organization Award
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Extra resources for Auschwitz and After
The electric poles, the roofs of the barracks buried under snow, stand out groined, as do the barbed-wire enclosures, traced in ink. What are they going to do with us? Time oozes without the light's changing. It remains hard, frozen, solid, and the sky is just as blue, as hard. The ice draws tight on our shoulders, weighs hard on us, crushes us. Not that we feel colder, we have grown increasingly inert, increasingly sensitive. We are caught within a block of crystal through which we see the living, far back in our memories.
They took the children because for this kind of trip you do not leave without them. Those who had some took gold because they believed gold might come in handy. All of them took what they loved most because you do not leave your dearest possessions when you set out for far-distant lands. Each one brought his life along, since what you must take with you, above all, is your life. And when they have gotten there 4 they think they've arrived in Hell maybe. And yet they did not believe in it. They had no idea you could take a train to Hell but since they were there they took their courage in their hands ready to face what's corning together with their children, their wives and their aged parents with family mementoes and family papers.
A dancing female skeleton. Her feet are small, gaunt, bare in the snow. There are living skeletons that dance. Presently I am writing this story in a cafe—it is turning into a story. A break in the clouds. Is it afternoon? We have lost all notion of None of Us Will Return / 27 time. The sky appears. Very blue. A forgotten blue. Hours have passed since I succeeded in not looking at the woman in the ditch. Is she still there? —and stopped there. Her hands are drawn by the glittering snow. She takes a handful of it, bringing it up to her lips in exasperating slow motion which must require infinite effort.