²⁹ Roadside readings
A few months ago, I [Aron] was reading a book written by him [Agamben].
"He [Antelme] relates that when the war was nearing its end, during the mad March to transfer prisoners from Buchenwald to Dachau, as the Allies were quickly approaching, the SS shot to death all those who would have slowed down the march because of their physical condition.At times the decimation would take place by chance, in the absence of any visible criterion. One day, it was a young Italian's turn:
The SS continues, "Du komme hier”. Another Italian steps out of the
column, a student from Bologna. I know him. His face has turned
pink. I look at him closely. I still have that pink before my eyes. He
stands there at the side of the road. He doesn't know what to do
with his hands... . He turned pink after the SS man said to him, "Du
komme hier!" He must have glanced about him before he flushed;
but yes, it was he who had been picked, and when he doubted it no
longer, he turned pink. The SS who was looking for a man, any man,
to kill, had found him. And having found him, he looked no further.
He didn't ask himself: Why him, instead of someone else? And the
Italian, having understood it was really him, accepted this chance
selection.He didn't wonder: Why me, instead of someone else?
(Antelme 1992: 231-32).
It is hard to forget the flush of the student of Bologna, who died during the march alone at the last minute, on the side of side of the road with his murderer."
I [Aron] have also had a hard time forgetting the flush, and many others have as well, and they wrote about it, in relation to shame and other emotions and affects.