The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/w/wiesel.elie/night/night.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Children in the flames...
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project (CANADA)
Keywords: Auschwitz,Mengele

In "Night," Elie Weisel recounts the initial convulsions of a time of
horror, as he and his father find themselves standing before Mengele:

  The wind of revolt died down.  We continued our march toward the square.
In the middle stood the notorious Dr.  Mengele (a typical SS officer: a
cruel face, but not devoid of intelligence, and wearing a monocle); a
conductor's baton in his hand, he was standing among the other officers.
The baton moved unremittingly, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the

  I was already in front of him:

  "How old are you?" he asked, in an attempt at a paternal 
   tone of voice.

  "Eighteen." My voice was shaking.

  "Are you in good health?"


  "What's your occupation?"

  Should I say that I was a student?

  "Farmer," I heard myself say.

  This conversation cannot of lasted more than a few seconds.  It had
seemed like an eternity to me.

  The baton moved to the left. I took half a step forward. I wanted 
to see first where they were sending my father. If he went to the 
right, I would go with him.

  The baton once again pointed to the left for him too.  A weight was
lifted from my heart.

  We did not yet know which was the better side, right or left; which 
road led to prison and which to the crematory.  But for the moment I 
was happy; I was near my father.  Our procession continued to move 
slowly forward.

  Another prisoner came up to us:


  "Yes," someone replied.

  "Poor devils, you're going to the crematory."

  He seemed to be telling the truth.  Not far from us, flames were leaping
up from a ditch, gigantic flames.  They were burning something.  A lorry
drew up at the pit and delivered its load -- little children.  Babies!
Yes, I saw it -- saw it with my own eyes ... those children in the
flames.  (Is it suprising that I could not sleep after that?  Sleep had
fled from my eyes.)

  So this is where we were going.  A little farther on was another and
larger ditch for adults.

  I pinched my face.  Was I still alive?  Was I awake?  I could not 
believe it.  How could it be possible for them to burn people, 
children, and for the world to keep silent?

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