[biography] - [quotes] - [publications]


"I can only say one thing for certain: there is no degree of experience, no perfect resignation, so such power of recognition, it would seem, that can lead us to deny ourselves a final chance at good fortune - provided, of course, the occasion arises. So when, along with those for whom work here was obviously rather hopeless, they returned me to sender, so to speak, to Buchenwald, I mustered all my remaining ability, naturally, to share in the joy of the others, because the good old days spent there and especially the morning soup immediately stirred my memory. What I didn't consider, however, and I admit it, was that first I'd have to travel there on the train under the usual circumstances of such trips. In any case, I can say there was a lot that I had never before understood and would probably not have believed anyway. Such a common expression, for example, as earthly remains until then only suggested a corpse. Yet as far as my living was concerned, I doubtless existed , even if I was only sputtering along with the flame turned entirely down. But still something within me burned - the flame of life, as they used to say - in other words, my body was still there. I was thoroughly familiar with it, only somehow I myself no longer lived inside it.
Without any difficulty I sensed that my body lay there surrounded on the sides and above with other objects. On the cold floor of the rattling railroad car the straw was wet from a variety of suspicious fluids. I sensed that my paper bandages had long since torn apart and disappeared, that my shirt and convict's pants, which they had put on me for the journey, were sticking to my wounds. But all this no longer moved me, no longer interested me, no longer held any sway over me. Indeed, I have to say that a lot of time had passed since I had experienced this easy, peaceful, and (to call a spade a spade) comfortable quiet. After all, I had finally become rid of the pain of irritability: the bodies pressing against mine no longer disturbed me. Somehow I was even glad that they were there with me, that their bodies and mine were so connected and so similar, and now for the first time I felt a strange, unusual, somewhat shy, almost clumsy feeling toward them. Perhaps it was love, I think. And I experienced the same from them as well, although they no longer encouraged me with hope as at the beginning."
(from Fateless tr. by Ch. C. Wilson and K. M. Wilson)

"Kertész's purposeful distancing between himself, the hero, and us is masterful and thoroughly effective. After all, we are transported hereinto the dark subworld of devastation, numbness, nothingness, and namelessness, where freedom and moral sensibility exist only in memory but cannot be exercised in practice. The only goal is to survive, 'to fulfill a given destiny.'"
(Clara Györgyey, World Literature Today, vol.67)



[biography] - [quotes] - [publications]



Frankfurt '99 Non-profit Organisation,
Budapest 1054 Báthori u. 10.
Fax: +(36) 1 269 20 53