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Tomorrow will come if you survive today. One step at a time.
We were cold, we were sick. Many times I said to Kurt, 'Let's go. What is the point of living, only to suffer tomorrow?
Kurt refused. He would not let me go to the wire.
This is the most important thing I have ever learned: the greatest thing you will ever do is be loved by another person.
Without friendship, a human being is lost. A friend is someone who reminds you to feel alive.
Having even just one good friend means that the world takes on new meaning. One good friend can be your entire world.
I silently thanked my father, who had insisted I learn the skills that would save my life. He'd always stressed the importance of work. He understood it was the way a person contributed to the world, that it is important for everybody to play their part in order for society to function properly. And beyond that, he understood something fundamental about the world. The machinery of society might not always function the way it's supposed to. In Germany, it broke down altogether, but parts of it kept running, and as long as my professional skills were essential, I would be safe.
If you lose your morals, you lose yourself.
I never lost sight of what it was to be civilised. I knew that there would be no point surviving if I had to become an evil man to do it. I never hurt another prisoner, I never stole another man's bread, and I did all I could to help my fellow man.
You see, your food is not enough. There is no medicine for your morals. If your morals are gone, you go.
This was the only way to survive Auschwitz, one day at a time, focused on keeping your body going.
The people who could not shut off everything but the will to live, to do what it took to live another day, they would not make it.
Those who spent time worrying about what they had lost - their lives, their money, their family - they would not make it.
In Auschwitz, there was no past, no future - only survival.
We adapted to this strange life in a living hell, or we did not make it.
The human body is the greatest machine ever made, but it cannot run without the human spirit. We can live a few weeks without food, a few days withou water, but without hope, without faith in other human beings? We will fail and break down. So that was how we survived. Through friendship, cooperation. Through hope.
Imagine starving so badly you could not eat. But the little extra kindness gave me new strength, the strength to not give up. The kindness he showed me wasn't enough to rebuild my health because I was very weak, but it showed me that not everybody hated us.
This was something perhaps even more valuable. It made me say, 'Eddie, don't give up.' Because if I give up, I am finished.
If you give up, if you say it's not worth living anymore, you will not last long. Where there is life, there is hope. And where there is hope, there is life.
My father used to say to me there is more pleasure in giving than in taking, that the important things in life – friends, family, kindness – are far more precious than money. A man is worth more than his bank account.
I don’t think I had so much joy at liberation. Liberation is freedom, but freedom for what? To be alone? To have to say Kaddish (a Jewish prayer) for other people? That’s not life. I know many people who took their own lives when we were liberated. Many times, I was very sad. I was very lonely. I missed my mother very badly.
I had to decide what to do, to live or to find a tablet and die like my parents. But I had made a promise to myself and to God to try to live the best existence I could, or else my parents’ death and all the suffering would be for nothing.
So, I chose to live.
It was the duty of the fortunate to help those who are suffering, and that it is better to give than receive. There are always miracles in the world, even when all seems hopeless. And when there are no miracles, you can make them happen. With a simple act of kindness, you can save another person from despair, and that might just save their life. And this is the greatest miracle of all.
Love is like all good things in life – it takes time, it takes work, it takes compassion.
You don’t want to fall in love with a reflection of yourself! A strong partnership is with a man or a woman who is different from you, who challenges you to try new things, to become a better person.
It’s possible to forget how much pain you carry, how much hurt there is in your subconscious, until you are presented with evidence of everything you’ve lost. Holding those photos of my late mother, I was struck by the thought that everyone I ever loved was gone and never coming back. And here was proof – a box of memories, of ghosts.
It was a shock. For a long time, I put it away and couldn’t bring myself to look at it.
Happiness does not fall from the sky; it is in your hands. Happiness comes from inside yourself and from the people you love. And if you are healthy and happy, you are a millionaire.
And happiness is the only thing in the world that doubles each time you share it.
I had learned early in life that we are all part of a larger society and our work is our contribution to a free and safe life for all. If I went to a hospital and saw instruments that I had made and knew that they were being used every day to make life better, this gave me great happiness.
I lived in a free country and that country became my prison. I have to share this with people who have suffered the same way. There is a saying: shared sorrow is half sorrow; shared pleasure is double pleasure.
Constantly journeying through life for the ultimate experience. Hungry for adventure, spontaneity & learnings - hungry in general.
A book about suffering and happiness that everyone ought to read.
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