Conker time -
A commotion in the street outside the kitchen window caught my eye. Neighbours were crowding around the open boot of a car, plastic bottles clutched in their hands. A shouted enquiry from the window, a trip downstairs to the road, an exchange of money for milk fresh from the buffalo and cheese, moist and crumbled. Some of the cheese went straight onto toast with a little sea salt and tomato slices. A closer look in the car was rewarded with sweet black grapes so dark they taste of blackcurrant. Next week maybe a jar of cream and some apples can be added to the shopping list for this one man farmer’s market.
Pakistani girls, displaced by floods in 2010
Polish Writer, Survivor of the Dachau and Auschwitz Concentration Camps and Author of the Unspeakably Numbing Series of Short Stories, “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” Tadeusz Borowski Uncredited and Undated Photograph
“Despite the madness of war, we lived for a world that would be different. For a better world to come when all this is over. And perhaps even our being here is a step towards that world. Do you really think that, without the hope that such a world is possible, that the rights of man will be restored again, we could stand the concentration camp even for one day? It is that very hope that makes people go without a murmur to the gas chambers, keeps them from risking a revolt, paralyses them into numb inactivity. It is hope that breaks down family ties, makes mothers renounce their children, or wives sell their bodies for bread, or husbands kill. It is hope that compels man to hold on to one more day of life, because that day may be the day of liberation. Ah, and not even the hope for a different, better world, but simply for life, a life of peace and rest. Never before in the history of mankind has hope been stronger than man, but never also has it done so much harm as it has in the war, in this concentration camp. We were never taught how to give up hope, and this is why today we perish in gas chambers.” Tadeusz Borowski, “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” 1948
As with so many survivors of the death camps, Borowski committed suicide in 1951.