Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The destruction of Hamburg

(Via Arts and Letters Daily)

The End: Hamburg 1943 by Hans Erich Nossak

I experienced the destruction of Hamburg as a spectator. I was spared the fate of playing a role in it. I don’t know why. I can’t even decide whether that was a privilege. I have talked to many hundreds of those who were there, men and women; what they have to tell, if they talk about it at all, is so unimaginably terrible that it is difficult to understand how they survived it. But they were given their role and their cue and had to act accordingly; and what they are able to report, heartwrenching though it may be in itself, is always just the part they were prompted to play. After all, most of them, as they ran out of their burning houses, didn’t know that the whole city was burning. They thought it was just their street or, at most, their district, and perhaps that was what saved them. ...


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