Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thought for the Day: Daniel Mendelsohn on the Importance of Every Story

To be alive is to have a story to tell. To be alive is precisely to be the hero, the center of a life story. When you can be nothing more than a minor character in somebody else's tale, it means that you are truly dead.

Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lose: A Search for Six of Six Million (NY: HarperCollins, 2006), p. 434.

The illustration is from the Tower of Faces at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., which contains pictures of inhabitants of the shtetl of Ejszyszki in Lithuania. At the time of World War II, the shtetl had about 3,500 inhabitants. The German SS, aided by Lithuanian auxiliaries, killed all citizens in this shtetl.