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World War II

  • ... when the German propaganda tries to be winsome it is like a clown with homicidal mania — ludicrous and terrifying both at once.

  • ... Dachau has been my own lifelong point of no return. Between the moment when I walked through the gate of that prison, with its infamous motto, 'Arbeit Macht Frei,' and when I walked out at the end of a day that had no ordinary scale of hours, I was changed, and how I looked at the human condition, the world we live in, changed ... Years of war had taught me a great deal, but war was nothing like Dachau. Compared to Dachau, war was clean.

  • We were made to believe / our faces betrayed us. / Our bodies were loud / with yellow / screaming flesh / needing to be silenced / behind barbed wire.

  • The stench of human wreckage in which the Nazi regime finally sank down to defeat has been the most shocking fact of modern times.

  • [On World War II:] The war, which destroyed so much of everything, was also constructive, in a way. It established clearly the cold, and finally unhypocritical fact that the most important thing on earth to men today is money.

  • For five years [1939-1944] Europe has been the victim of cannibalism, with one country trying to eat the other countries, trying to eat the grain, the meat, the oil, the steel, the liberties, the governments, and the men of all the others. The half-consumed corpses of ideologies and of the civilians who believed in them have rotted the soil of Europe, and in this day of the most luxurious war machinery the world has ever seen, the inhabitants of the continent's capital cities have been reduced to the primitive problems of survival, of finding something to eat, of hatred, of revenge, of fawning, of being for and against themselves or someone else, and of hiding, like savages with ration cards.

  • This period has brought about the greatest, most terrible, and most destructive migration of modern times, a movement of men, women, and children trekking across Europe in flight from other men, women, and children ... Whether they go north, south, east, or west, they head toward poverty.

  • The Hitler movement is a stampede. It is something beyond reason, like a pulse beating, like a rush of blood to the head, like the sap rising from the twisted roots of a family tree. ... in many ways it is the most remarkable upheaval of our time, perhaps the most momentous.

  • [After World War II:] By now we are used to the rubble, which they clear up religiously and indefatigably. What a determination to get on top again! One could admire it, if one would not be afraid that somewhere lurks another Hitler. But you can't seem to find a single Nazi in Germany! Nobody was one! It was all a dream!

  • [During a pre-war interview with Hitler when he screamed at her, 'The Jews! The Jews! What are you doing about the Jews in America?':] Why nothing. We think we're just as good as they are.