Survivor Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 156 quotes )
We who survived the Camps are not true witnesses. This is an uncomfortable notion which I have gradually come to accept by reading what other survivors have written, including myself, when I re-read my writings after a lapse of years. We, the survivors, are not only a tiny but also an anomalous minority. We are those who, through prevarication, skill or luck, never touched bottom. Those who have, and who have seen the face of the Gorgon, did not return, or returned wordless.
...Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know. And even the survivors who have decided to bear witness confirm it in their way: They almost all say that their experience can't be related in words, and yet, as witnesses, they're morally compelled to resort to them. Their silence, except if it is ontologically integral to their disposition, would not help truth triumph. It would only open the road to oblivion and, as one survivor put it, enable the executioner to kill his victims a second time.
I suppose it's possible that the Sundance Kid didn't like to make much of his birthdays — they may have struck him as just another reminder that his draw was getting slower by the year—but what if he truly liked a major celebration? What if he looked forward every year to marking the day of his birth with what they used to call in the West 'a real wingding, with pink balloons and a few survivors'?
Since then I have learned many things, and above all the way in which dinosaurs conquer. First I had believed that disappearing had been, for my brothers, the magnanimous acceptance of a defeat; now I knew that the more the dinosaurs disappear, the more they extend their dominion, and over forests far more vast than those that cover the continents: in the labyrinth of the survivor's thoughts. From the semidarkness of fears and doubts of now ignorant generations, the Dinosaurs continued to extend their necks, to raise their taloned hoofs, and when the last shadow of their image had been erased, their name went on, superimposed on all meanings, perpetuating their presence in relations among living beings. Now, when the name too had been erased, they would become one thing with the mute and anonymous molds of thought, through which thoughts take on form and substance: by the New Ones, and by those who would come after the New Ones, and those who would come even after them.
Dr. Ransome marked the exercises in the algebra textbook and gave him two strips of rice-paper bandage on which to solve the simultaneous equations. As he stood up, Dr. Ransome removed the three tomatoes from Jim's pocket. He laid them on the table by the wax tray. 'Did they come from the hospital garden?' 'Yes.' Jim gazed back frankly at Dr. Ransome. Recently he had begun to see him with a more adult eye. The long years of imprisonment, the constant disputes with the Japanese had made this young physician seem middle-aged. Dr. Ransome was often unsure of himself, as he was of Jim's theft. 'I have to give Basie something whenever I see him.' 'I know. It's a good thing that you're friends with Basie. He's a survivor, though survivors can be dangerous. Wars exist for people like Basie.' Dr. Ransome placed the tomatoes in Jim's hand. 'I want you to eat them, Jim. I'll get you something for Basie.
All this occupied his thoughts when he revisited the places of his war. Tramping over soil fed by the blood of men he had led and whose faces now stirred in his memory, it was his wife's response that came - as if in compensation for too little said before - when he wondered why his wandering had led him back to these old battlefields: in his sixty-ninth year he was establishing his survivor's status.
It was only when the giant got halfway down the incline that he suddenly, happily, burst into flame and continued his trip saying, "NO SURVIVORS, NO SURVIVORS!" in a manner that could only indicate deadly sincerity. It was seeing him happily burning and advancing that startled the Brute Squad to screaming. And once that happened, why, everybody panicked and ran...
Above all, one could hold onto everything: the suffering to the quick and its whims, the sticky shadows, somber viscosity of the veil drawn taut around cities, everything could be borne, since legal outings of a few hours might take place, I told myself. Of course, I thought, no point pretending one wasn't dead. But on the other hand, rather than yield to the maneuvers of the conservation instinct, strategies that make us flee the pain within by hiding from ourselves within ourselves from whom we flee, its poppies, its hypnotic operations that the powerful currents of day-to-day life reinforce with a thousand vulgar, pressing duties which turn us from our hearts. do everything, I thought, on the contrary, whatever you can to resist the ingenious temptations of compromises, cling to the suffering, stir up the dread, for the monsters are also the benevolent guardians of the survivor's presence within me
The day may come when, contemplating a world given back to the primeval forst, a human survivor will have no means of even guessing how much intelligence Man once imposed upon the forms of the earth, when he set up the stones of Florence in the billowing expanse of the Tuscan olive-groves. No trace will be left then of the palaces that saw Michelangelo pass by, nursing his grievances against Raphael; and nothing of the little Paris cafes where Renoir once sat beside Cezanne, Van Gogh beside Gauguin. Solitude, vicegerent of Eternity, vanquishes men's dreams no less than armies, and men have known this ever since they came into being and realized that they must die.
In the Second World War he took no public part, having escaped to a neutral country just before its outbreak. In private conversation he was wont to say that homicidal lunatics were well employed in killing each other, but that sensible men would keep out of their way while they were doing it. Fortunately this outlook, which is reminiscent of Bentham, has become rare in this age, which recognizes that heroism has a value independent of its utility. The Last Survivor of a Dead Epoch
One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the goyim were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the Shoah or Endlsung or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate. I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.
I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
Otto Cone as a man of seventy-plus years jumped into an open lift shaft and died. Now this was a subject which Alicia Cone, who would readily discuss the most taboo matters refused to touch upon. Why does a survivor of the camps live forty years then complete the job the monsters didn't get done? Does great evil eventually triumph no matter how strenuously it is resisted? Does it leave a sliver of ice in the blood working its way through until it reaches the heart? Or worse, can a man's death be incompatible with his life? Alicia, who's first response on hearing of her father's death had been fury, flung such questions as these at her mother, who stone-faced beneath a broad-brimmed black hat said only, "You have inherited his lack of restraint my dear.
Tom’s words laid bare the hearts of the trees and their thoughts, which were often dark and strange, filled with a hatred of things that go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning: destroyers and usurpers. It was not called the Old Forest without reason, for it was indeed ancient, a survivor of vast forgotten woods; and in it there lived yet, ageing no quicker than the hills, the fathers of the fathers of trees, remembering times when they were lords.