13 Feb Milan Kundera

The Jews of Therienstadt had no illusions: they were living in the antechamber of death while Nazi propaganda paraded their cultural life as an alibi. Should this have persuaded them to refuse their unreliable and exploited liberty? The response was utterly clear. Their lives, their creations, their exhibitions, their string quartets, their loves: the whole array of their life was incomparably more important than the macabre theatre of their jailers. Such was their wager. It should be ours. Horrible crimes will be committed as long as mankind endures. What’s unique, though, and will never be repeated is the work the European Jews created in the course of this century, which they carried through the hell of this century, and without which Europe – its art, its thought, its very existence – would not be what it is.