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Contents > Author > Elie Wiesel > Language and Experience 1928- Pres.
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Elie Wiesel
Language and Experience
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On one hand, we must testify. If I survived, it must be for some
reason: I must do something with my life. It is too serious to
play games with anymore because in my place someone else
could have been saved. And so I speak for that person. On the
other hand, I know I cannot. The war, my experience, transcends
language-- it is impossible to transmit. I know one thing no one
else will know except those others who have been there. When
we left that war, when we left that world, we did not talk about
it-- it is too personal, too intimate. But it is always present. I
know whatever I do, whatever I write, is always against the
background of that event.

(Quoted in Michiko Kakutani's "The Poet at the Piano: Portraits of
Writers, Filmmakers, Playwrights, and Other Artists at Work.")

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