Remembrance Day, the certainty of Edith Bruck: 'The testimony will remain even after me'

“When we came back, nobody wanted to believe us. That's why I haven't stopped telling stories for 62 years'. And when Pope Francis went to visit her at his house…


Edith Bruck, 91, was born in Hungary, in Tiszakarád. In 1944, with her parents and five brothers, she was first locked up in the Satoraljaujhely ghetto and then deported to Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen, Christianstadt. His mother and brother won't be returning. After her release, she will go to live in Israel, but in 1954 she will choose to move to Rome. Of her The first testimony of her, the autobiographical novel Who loves you like that , is from 1959. But all of his books are inspired by his life experiences, including the last one, I'm Francis (Ship of Theseus), born following the visit that Pope Francis paid her at home, after reading The Lost Bread . When we ask her if she fears that the memory of the Holocaust may fade when even the last of the voices of its victims have died away, Bruck admits: 'We are very few by now'. Then he specifies: 'However, I don't believe, like Liliana, that there will be nothing left after us.'

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What will remain? “What was done, what was said and what was written. I have been bearing witness for 62 years and I have seen thousands of young people who listen to me, bring me flowers, swear to me that they will never be anti-Semitic, never fascists. And I think they are sincere. The message has arrived and it won't all be buried after me.'

What convinced her to begin her testimony? “When we returned, no one listened to us. So I started writing, back in 1946, telling myself that paper could take anything. They didn't want to listen to us, everyone went about their own business, but I couldn't stand this poison I had inside, I had things to say, I burst out with words. I started writing and never stopped doing it. I will never stop also because we survivors don't actually talk about ourselves, we talk about the world, about history, about our era. Every writer is a witness of an era. Ours are never autobiographies, they are parts of a story. What happens to you happens to millions of people.'

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Have you ever thought about quitting? 'Everyday. But I can't keep my promises, because I can't say no. If with my testimony I have changed the minds of even 10 or 20 people in the world, my suffering has not been in vain. I'm grateful for kids who want to know and listen. I think it is very important, today more than ever, to testify. Everything that happens in the world affects us, not just what is close to us, here, outside the door. Everything that happens to others, however distant, affects us in many ways. Throughout Europe there is a resurgence of the right, which in Hungary, France and also in Italy have raised their heads. Pope Francis, when he came to see me, told me: 'A drop of good is enough' but it must be nourished. In each of us there is a crumb of good that must be nourished. For this we must always go forward and never lose hope.