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Beautiful Sentences: Gerda Weissmann Klein

Why? Why did we walk like meek sheep to the slaughterhouse? Why did we not fight back? What had we to lose? Nothing but our lives. Why did we not un away and hide? We might have had a chance to survive. Why did we walk deliberately and obediently into their clutches?

I know why. Because we had faith in humanity. Because we did not really think that human beings were capable of committing such crimes.

Gerda Weissmann Klein, All But My Life: A Memoir.


Beautiful Sentences: Tadeusz Borowski

“Save us. We are going to the gas chambers! Save us.”

And they rode slowly past us—the ten thousand silent men—and then disappeared from sight. Not one of us made a move, not one of us lifted a hand.

Tadeusz Borowski, “Auschwitz, Our Home (A Letter)”


Beautiful Sentences: Martha Gellhorn

You never even stopped to notice the dead; they weren’t men any more They lay along the roads, in the fields, in the streets of villages, under the trees, like old dirty laundry sacks, nothing, just dead. You never knew how much of nothing dying was until you saw the shapeless, nameless, meaningless dead.

Martha Gellhorn, Point of No Return.


Beautiful Sentences: Marguerite Duras

In group photographs of the Central Committee of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow, the murderer-members look to me as if they’re lonely in the same way as Rabier—the solitude of cholera victims, or worse, with moth-eaten souls, each loneliness its own disguise, its teeth chattering for fear of its neighbor, for fear of tomorrow’s execution.

Marguerite Duras, The War.


Beautiful Sentences: Mario Vargas Llosa

El pelo que le faltaba en la cabeza le sobresalía de las orejas, cuyas matas de vellos negrísimos irrumpían, agresivas, como grotesca compensación a la calvicie del Constitutucionalista Beodo.

Mario Vargas Llosa, La Fiesta del Chivo.


Beautiful Sentences: Renata Adler

It would not have been a crime, of course. But it would have taken us over that edge of irreversible violence where, whether in a pattern of years or in the flicker of an oversight, crime begins.

Renata Adler, Speedboat.


Beautiful Sentences: Aldous Huxley

Man can’t live by bread alone, because they need to feel their life has a point. That’s why they take to idealism. But it’s a matter of experience and observation that most idealism leads to war, persecution and mass insanity.

Aldous Huxley, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan.


Beautiful Sentences: Salman Rushdie

At the beginning of love there is a private treaty each of the lovers makes with himself or herself, an agreement to set aside what is wrong with the other for the sake of what is right, Love is spring after winter. It comes to heal life’s wounds, inflicted by the unloving cold. When that warmth is born in the heart the imperfections of the beloved are as nothing, less than nothing, and the secret treaty with oneself is easy to sign. The voice of doubt is stilled. Later, when love fades, the secret treaty looks like folly, but if so, it’s a necessary folly, born of lovers’ belief in beauty, which is to say, in the possibility of the impossible thing, true love.

Salman Rushdie, Two Years, Eight Months, Twenty-Eight Days.


Beautiful Sentences: Katherine Anne Porter

The sailors were out again washing down the decks, which rolled gently as the Vera set out resolutely for the Canaries with only a head or two looking out of her portholes to watch the eternal love affair between the moon and the sea.

Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools.


Beautiful Sentences: Laudomia Bonnani

The faded saints swayed from the frescoes in elusive benevolence.

Laudomia Bonnani. The Reprisal.