A Testimony

 

⁴ From a book on the shelf. 

They all freeze to death. When he finishes, his wife gets up slowly, says, "I can't listen to this any more," and walks off camera. The drama of avoidance initiated by so many of these testimonies thus radiates in many directions, not only toward the audience. Rarely, however, do we find it as intrinsic to the testimony itself as we do here.
Shortly after the wife leaves, one of the interviewers says to the witness, "This is a nice place to stop." Then we hear whispering off camera. Meanwhile, Moses S. is saying to himself aloud, "And more, and more, and more. Do you want to hear more?" One of the interviewers replies: "No. Let's end here." He insists, "One more story." She persists, "No, no. We'll stop here." But he overrides her objection and tells the story of the prisoner choked to death by a Kapo for having eaten his friend's bread. And here the interview ends—but it is the interviewer's choice, not his.

Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory, by Lawrence L. Langer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991. 216 pp. $25.00. (P.28)