“What are You, my God? I thought angrily. How do You compare to this stricken mass gathered to affirm to You their faith, their anger, their defiance? What does Your grandeur mean, Master of the Universe, in the face of all this cowardice, this decay, and this misery? Why do you go on troubling these poor people’s wounded minds, their ailing bodies?”
At first I thought it was the wind. "Blessed be God's name..." Thousands of lips repeated the benediction, bent over like trees in a storm. Blessed be God's name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused Thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because He kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? How could I say to Him: Blessed Be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end up in the furnaces? Praised be Thy Holy Name, for having chosen us to be slaughtered on Thine altar?
We were ready. I went out first. I did not want to look at my parents' faces. I did not want to break into tears. We remained sit- ting in the middle of the street, like the others two days earlier. The same hellish sun. The same thirst. Only there was no one eft to bring us water. I looked at my house in which I had spent years seeking my God, fasting to hasten the coming of the Messiah, imagining what my life would be like later. Yet I felt little sadness. My mind was empty.
He didn't answer. He was weeping. His body was shaking. Everybody around us was weeping. Someone began to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. don't know whether, during the history of the Jewish people, men have ever before recited Kaddish for themselves. "Yisgadal, veyiskadash, shme raba...May His name be cele- brated and sanctified..." whispered my father. For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?
Some of the men spoke of God: His mysterious ways, the sins of the Jewish people, and the redemption to come. As for me, I had ceased to pray. I co curred with Job! I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute jus
. And we were forced to look at hiat close range. He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet extin- guished. Behind me, I heard the same man asking For God's sake, where is God?" And from within me, I heard a voice answer: "Where He is? This is where hanging here from this gal- lows..." That night, the soup tasted of corp