By Charlotte Delbo
Delbo’s beautiful and unflinching account of lifestyles and loss of life lower than Nazi atrocity grows fiercer and richer with time. the excellent new creation through 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 info for Auschwitz and After
We expect only what happens. Night because it follows day. Day because it follows night. We await the end of the roll call. The end of the roll call is a whistle blast which makes each woman turn about-face towards the gate. Motionless ranks become ranks ready to be set in motion, in the direction of the marshes, the bricks, the ditches. Today we are waiting longer than usual. The sky grows paler than usual. We are waiting. What are we waiting for? An SS appears at the end of the Lagerstrasse, walking towards us.
Hours have passed since I succeeded in not looking at the woman in the ditch. Is she still there? —and stopped there. Her hands are drawn by the glittering snow. She takes a handful of it, bringing it up to her lips in exasperating slow motion which must require infinite effort. She sucks the snow. Now we understand why she broke rank, the resolute expression of her face. She wanted clean snow for her swollen lips. Since the break of day she was fascinated by this clean snow she hoped to reach.
Her ribs and pelvic bones are clearly visible. She pulls the blanket up to her shoulders while continuing to dance. The dance of an automaton. A dancing female skeleton. Her feet are small, gaunt, bare in the snow. There are living skeletons that dance. Presently I am writing this story in a cafe—it is turning into a story. A break in the clouds. Is it afternoon? We have lost all notion of None of Us Will Return / 27 time. The sky appears. Very blue. A forgotten blue. Hours have passed since I succeeded in not looking at the woman in the ditch.