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By Elie Wiesel Winner of the 1986 Noble Prize

Foreword by Francois Mauriac Foreign journalists often come to see me. I dread their visits, being torn between a desire to reveal everything in my mind and a fear of putting weapons into the hands of an interviewer when I know nothing about his own attitude toward France. I am always careful during encounters of this kind. That morning, theyoung Jew who came to interview me for a Tel Aviv paper immediately won my sympathy, and our conversation very quickly took a personal turn. It led me to recall memories of the Occupation. It is not always the events we have been directly involved in that affect us the most. I confided to my young visitor that nothing I had an during those somber years had left so deep a mark upon me a thosetrainloads of Jewish children standing at Austerlitz station. Yet I did not even see them myself! My wife described them to me, her voice still filled with horror. At that time we knew nothing of Nazi methods of extermination. And who could have imagined them! Yet the way these lambs had been torn from their mothers in itself exceeded anything we had so far thought possible. I believe that on that dayI

touched for the first time upon the mystery of iniquity whole revelation was to mark the end one era and the beginning of another. The dream which Western man conceived in the eighteenth century, whose dawn he thought he saw in 1789, and which, until August 2, 1914, had grown stronger with the progress of enlightenment and the discoveries of science--this dream vanished finally for mebefore those trainloads of little children. And yet I was still thousands of miles away from thinking that they were to be fuel for the gas chamber and the crematory. This, then, was what I had to tell the young journalist. And when I said, with a sigh, "How often I've thought about those children!" he replied, "I was one of them." He was one of them. He had seen his mother, a beloved little sister, adall his family except his father disappear into an men fed with living creatures. As for his father, the child ms forced to be a spectator day after day to his martyrdom, his agony, and his death. And such a death! The circumstances of it are related in this book, and I will leave the discovery of them and of the miracle by which the child himself escaped to its readers, who should be as numerousas those of The Diary of Anne Frank. What I maintain is that this personal record, coming after so many others and describing an outrage about which we might imagine we already know all that it is possible to know, is nevertheless different, distinct, unique. The fate of the Jews of the little Transylvanian town called Sighet, their blindness in the face of a destiny from which they would stillhave had time to flee; the inconceivable passivity with which they gave themselves up to it, deaf to the warnings and pleas of a witness who had himself escaped the massacre, and who brought them news of what he had seen with his own eyes; their refusal to believe him, taking him for a madman-these circumstances, it seems to me, would in themselves be sufficient to inspire a

bode to which noother could be compared. It is however, another aspect of this extraordinary book, which has engaged me most deeply. The child who tells us his story here was one of God's elect. From the time when his conscience first awoke, he had lived only for God and had been reared on the Talmud, aspiring to initiation into the cabala, dedicated to the Eternal. Have we ever thought about the consequence of ahorror that, though less apparent, less striking than the other outrages, is yet the worst of all to those of us who have faith: the death of God in the soul of a child who suddenly discovers absolute evil? Let us try to imagine what passed within him while his eyes watched the coils of black smoke unfurling in the sky, from the oven where his little sister and his mother were going to be thrown...