By Charlotte Delbo
Delbo’s beautiful and unflinching account of existence and loss of life less than Nazi atrocity grows fiercer and richer with time. the wonderful new advent through 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 strong 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
Only those who enter the camp find out what happened to the others. They cry at the thought of having parted from them at the station the day an officer ordered the young prisoners to line up separately people are needed to drain the marshes and cover them with the others' ashes. They tell themselves it would have been far better never to have entered, never to have found out. IO You who have wept two thousand years for one who agonized for three days and three nights what tears will you have left for those who agonized far more than three hundred nights and far more than three hundred days how hard shall you weep for those who agonized through so many agonies and they were countless They did not believe in resurrection to eternal life and knew you would not weep.
The silence is solidified into cold. We are in a place where time is abolished. We do not know whether we exist, only ice, light, dazzling snow, and us, in this ice, this light, this silence. We remain motionless. The morning leaks out—time outside of time. And the edges of the checkerboard are not as sharp as they were. The ranks are disintegrating. Some of the women take a couple of steps, regain their place. The snow sparkles, immense, upon a stretch where nothing casts a shadow. The electric poles, the roofs of the barracks buried under snow, stand out groined, as do the barbed-wire enclosures, traced in ink.
Her legs were bound with rags. They were so thin that despite these tatters they looked like swinging bean poles, scarecrow legs. Even more so when they were kicking in the air. Finally the woman fell to the bottom of the ditch. She turns her head as if to measure the distance, looks upward. One can observe a growing bewilderment in her eyes, her hands, her convulsed face. "Why are all these women looking at me like this? Why are they None of Us Will Return / 25 here, lined up in close ranks, standing immobile?