|Vladimir Jankélévitch, photo by Marion Kalter|
"The sentiment that we [Jews] experience is not called rancor but horror insurmountable, horror over what happened, horror of the fanatics who perpetrated this thing, of the passive who accepted it, and the indifferent who have already forgotten it. This is our 'resentment' [ressentiment].
For ressentiment can also be the renewed and intensely lived feeling of the inexpiable thing; it protests against a moral amnesty that is nothing but shameful amnesia; it maintains the sacred flame of disquiet and faith to invisible things. Forgetfulness here would be a grave insult to those who died in the camps and whose ashes are forever mixed in the earth. It would be a lapse of seriousness and dignity, a shameful frivolity.
Yes, the memory of what happened is indelible in us, indelible like the tattoos that the survivors still wear on their arms. Each spring the trees bloom at Auschwitz as they do everywhere, for the grass is not too disgusted to grow in those accursed fields; springtime does not distinguish between our gardens and those places of inexpressible misery. Today when the sophists recommend forgetfulness, we will forcefully mark our mute and impotent horror before the dogs of hate; we will think hard about the agony of the deportees without sepulchers and of the little children who did not come back. Because this agony will last until the end of the world."