By Charlotte Delbo
Delbo’s beautiful and unflinching account of existence and loss of life below Nazi atrocity grows fiercer and richer with time. the wonderful new advent by means of 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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Additional resources for Auschwitz and After: Second Edition
There are those who having journeyed for eighteen days lost their minds, murdering one another inside the boxcars and those who suffocated during the trip when they were tightly packed together they will not step out. There’s a little girl who hugs her doll against her chest, dolls can be smothered too. There are two sisters wearing white coats. They went out for a stroll and never got back for dinner. Their parents still await their return anxiously. Five by five they walk down the street of arrivals.
Then silence. The roll call was over. It was the daytime silence. The women still alive went back. The dead women remained in the snow. They had been stripped naked. Their clothes would be used by others. Every two or three days, trucks arrived to take the living to the gas chamber, the dead to the crematorium. Madness must have been the final hope of those who entered there. Some, made canny by their stubborn desire to survive, escaped at the outset. Sometimes they would last several weeks, never more than three in block 25.
In the morning, they stepped outside. They were driven out by cudgel blows. Blows imparted to the dying and the insane. The living had to pull out into the yard those who died during the night, because the dead had to be counted also. The SS walked by. He enjoyed setting his dog on them. This was the howling heard at night. Then silence. The roll call was over. It was the daytime silence. The women still alive went back. The dead women remained in the snow. They had been stripped naked. Their clothes would be used by others.