Holocaust

Holocaust

April 19, 2012

Shoah: a Table of Elements

“The trade of chemist (fortified, in my case, by the experience of Auschwitz), teaches you to overcome, indeed to ignore, certain revulsions that are neither necessary nor congenital: matter is matter, neither noble nor vile, infinitely transformable, and its proximate origin is of no importance whatsoever. Nitrogen is nitrogen, it passes miraculously from the air into plants, from these into animals, and from animals into us; when its function in our body is exhausted, we eliminate it, but it still remains nitrogen, aseptic, innocent.”
—Primo Levi, The Periodic Table

The Holocaust represented a contradiction in perception: ordered, regimented evil and unrestrained, billowing pain. For decades, artists have sought to capture the ineffable destruction that befell the Jewish people.

May 26, 2011

Primo LeviPhoto by Alfred Essa/Flickr/cc by-nc-sa 2.0

The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles the late Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi whose thoughts on fascism sound as relevant today (amid unrest we observe in Libya and Syria) as when he was writing in 1974:

May 01, 2011

Eisenmann Memorial, BerlinA balloon flies over Eisenmann Memorial in Berlin. (photo: Danny/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

Our household was a heavy one. I always felt the presence of sadness and loss; those emotions were part of everything that took place in our family, including birthdays and personal achievements. I knew where the sadness and sense of loss came from, to an extent, from stories that Aba (my father Yehoshua) told — and from his writings.

Growing up, I did not want to touch those places where the sadness and loss came from. Ouri, my oldest brother, calls these hard to touch places hamekomot harotetim, “the trembling places” inside of us.

April 11, 2010

Elie Wiesel dispels the misconception that he forever lost his faith in God after the war. Language becomes holy through prayer.

January 05, 2010

White CrucifixionSaw this over the weekend in the London Times and thought it was worth sharing for those of you who missed it.