Sunday, September 6, 2015

an eternal Treblinka

This is the full context of the famous and controversial quote by Isaac Bashevis Singer. This is from his story The Letter Writer:

Despair took hold of Herman. He started to pray for the mouse’s soul. “Well, you’ve had your life. You’ve served your time in this forsaken world, the worst of all worlds, this bottomless abyss, where Satan, Asmodeus, Hitler, and Stalin prevail. You are no longer confined to your hole—hungry, thirsty, and sick, but at one with the God-filled cosmos, with God Himself … Who knows why you had to be a mouse?”

In his thoughts, Herman spoke a eulogy for the mouse who had shared a portion of her life with him and who, because of him, had left this earth. “What do they know—all those scholars, all those philosophers, all the leaders of the world—about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka. And yet man demands compassion from heaven.” Herman clapped his hand to his mouth. “I mustn’t live, I mustn’t I can no longer be a part of it! God in heaven—take me away!”

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