The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.
Not to transmit an experience is to betray it.
Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.
For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.
My faceless neighbor spoke up: “Don’t be deluded. Hitler has made it clear that he will annihilate all Jews before the clock strikes twelve.” I exploded: “What do you care what he said? Would you want us to consider him a prophet? His cold eyes stared at me. At last he said, wearily: “I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.
I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed, and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.
Even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That one instant before dying, man is still immortal.
There's a long road of suffering ahead of you. But don't lose courage. You've already escaped the gravest danger: selection. So now, muster your strength, and don't lose heart. We shall all see the day of liberation. Have faith in life. Above all else, have faith. Drive out despair, and you will keep death away from yourselves. Hell is not for eternity. And now, a prayer - or rather, a piece of advice: let there be comradeship among you. We are all brothers, and we are all suffering the same fate. The same smoke floats over all our heads. Help one another. It is the only way to survive.
In the beginning there was faith - which is childish; trust - which is vain; and illusion - which is dangerous.
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.
I write to understand as much as to be understood.
A disciple came to the celebrated Master of the Good Name with a question. “Rabbi, how are we to distinguish between a true master and a fake?” And the master of the good name said, “When you meet a person who poses as a master, ask him a question: whether he knows how to purify your thoughts. If he says that he knows, then he is a fake.
That I survived the Holocaust and went on to love beautiful girls, to talk, to write, to have toast and tea and live my life - that is what is abnormal.
Human beings should be held accountable. Leave God alone. He has enough problems.
I remember, May 1944: I was 15-and-a-half, and I was thrown into a haunted universe where the story of the human adventure seemed to swing irrevocably between horror and malediction.
I would like to see real peace and a state of Israel living peacefully alongside a state of Palestine.
It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.