Thursday, July 17, 2008

Eulogy for Yitshak Meir Weissenberg

As visitors may have noticed, I've been reading and posting on some academic issues the last couple of days, and my pace has backed off a little. I'm enjoying the summer, getting outside a bit, eating and drinking well, and spending time with my family.

As such, my personal book reading has fluctuated somewhat. I am about a third of the way through Saul Friedlander's,
The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945, and I wanted to share with readers the opening vignette from the beginning of Part II, "Mass Murder: Summer 1941-Summer 1942":

The proportions of life and death have radically changed. Times were, when life occupied the primary place, when it was the main and central concern, while death was a side phenomenon, secondary to life, its termination. Nowadays, death rules in all its majesty; while life hardly glows under a thick layer of ashes. Even this faint glow of life is feeble, miserable and weak, poor, devoid of any free breath, deprived of any spark of spiritual content. The very soul, both in the individual and in the community, seems to have starved and perished, to have dulled and atrophied. There remain only the needs of the body; and it leads merely an organic-physiological existence.

- Abraham Lewin,
eulogy in honor of Yitshak Meir Weissenberg,
September 31, 1941
Mr. Weissenberg's just mentioned once more in the whole the book. He wasn't a famous Holocaust victim like some of the others discussed in the volume (like Anne Frank), but Lewin's eulogy of him was poetic and powerful.

See also my earlier entry, "
Nazi Germany's Years of Extermination, 1939-1945.

More later, dear readers...