Epigraphe IIIe Monument

ANDRÉ ULMANN (1912-1970)


Time already glides over the time. Five years of a single colour are fading away. They condense somewhere by the side, in a remembrance without any adequate measure as the year nineteen hundred and thirty nine approaches, until it reaches me and joins in with the days I am living in. Shall I remain speechless in front of what I have learned at the cost of such hardships, or shall I have to believe that I failed to acquire anything, except an expanse of several acres of months and years let to fallow, a pasture to be grazed by the cattle of oblivion? Already I fail to retrieve the names of those days, the names of the dead, the names of the towns and camps, the names of hopes provided by battlefields, the names of the friends and foes. People ask me how died the one I attended to when he was passing away, and I fail to recognize him at once. I have to frown, to search, to dig the ground, to investigate the smoke through which he slipped out of life. Then people rightly tell me that this is what life is all about, that one has to live the present, that we are in no want of duties and tasks to accomplish. Indeed ! But if the duty and the tasks were precisely not to forget ? Is it of no use ? How do you know, if you have not shared the bitter bred, nor dug useless holes under the snow, nor waited for your turn to be killed – and you have been bypassed, staying alive by chance.

At last I will have unlearned prudishness for that time which does not command anything any longer since it is nowhere to be found except in the depth of ourselves, and we ourselves have such a hard time reaching down to it again.

Dated “September-December 1945”.
Excerpt from Souvenir de voyage published by the journal Europe, n° 6, 1st June 1946

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