How do you describe the sorting out on arriving at Auschwitz, the separation of children who see a father or mother going away, never to be seen again? How do you express the dumb grief of a little girl and the endless lines of women, children and rabbis being driven across the Polish or Ukrainian landscapes to their deaths? No, I can't do it. And because I'm a writer and teacher, I don't understand how Europe's most cultured nation could have done that. For these men who killed with submachine-guns in the Ukraine were university graduates. Afterwards they would go home and read a poem by Heine. So what happened?
Elie Wiesel (b. 1928), Romanian–born U.S. writer. Quoted in Le Monde (Paris, June 4, 1987).
Wiesel, a survivor of the concentration camps, was testifying at the trial of Klaus Barbie in Lyons, June 2, 1987. In an earlier interview he spoke of the continuing impact of the Holocaust on his life: "There isn't a day, there simply isn't a day without my thinking of death or of looking into death, darkness, or seeing that fire or trying to understand what happened. There isn't a day." (Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton, 1988).