Otto had been a chess champion (won the Belgian title in 1936), and his chess hero had always been a Russian named Alekhine. One day in Buchenwald, in the latrine, Otto came upon what he thought was a miracle of sorts: there on the ground was a page from a recent German chess magazine, undoubtedly discarded by an SS guard, with an article by, of all people, Alekhine. So Otto's heart skipped and his mood soared. Until he began reading. Then he discovered, for the first time, that Alekhine had become a rabid antisemite sympathizer with the Nazi cause, and the article was all about the evils of "Jewish chess..." And Otto then sank into an especially low depression. But then there was another uplift, because it occurred to him that if he was still capable of experiencing both joy and depression it must mean that his humanity had not been destroyed, even by the Nazis. And this awareness, that he was still human, gave him hope and the will to continue.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Ups and Downs: They're Life. Both.
Michael has responded to this morning's blogging with a story he heard from his father, who survived Buchenwald: