Arbeit Macht Frei

Here’s a short passage from Primo Levi’s excellent novel, The Periodic Table:


Out of the shadows came men whom Fascism had not crushed—lawyers, professors, and workers—and we recognized in them our teachers, those for whom we had futilely searched until then in the Bible’s doctrine, in chemistry, and on the mountains. Fascism had reduced them to silence for twenty years, and they explained to us that Fascism was not only a clownish and improvident misrule but the negator of justice; it had not only dragged Italy into an unjust and ill-omened war, but it had arisen and consolidated itself as the custodian of a detestable legality and order, based on the coercion of those who work, on the unchecked profits of those who exploit the labor of others, on the silence imposed on those who think and do not want to be slaves, and on systematic and calculated lies. They told us that our mocking, ironic intolerance was not enough; it should turn into anger, and the anger should be channeled into a well-organized and timely revolt …

Interesting. Levi’s picture of Fascism in Italy around the second world war could very well have been written to describe the current situation in the United States of America. Read Levi’s words again … think about it. Don’t be reduced to silence.

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