“I Wouldn’t Say Anything”

A story from Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic:

“There was a 14 year-old girl, alone with just her 8-year old brother. Like me, they were Jewish. But it was during World War Two, and their parents had already been taken to Auschwitz, where they would die. So now it was just the two of them, sister and brother.

But she, of course, was the big sister, and she was upset that her brother had lost a shoe. He was just so careless, this little brother, and as they were about to be placed in separate trains that would take them to the concentration camp, she reprimanded him about this carelessness. She really let him have it.

This is a very sad story because, while the sister survived the camp, her little brother didn’t.  This now old woman, this Holocaust survivor, has so much to deal with, and still swirling in all of this pain is the realization that the last time she was with her scared little brother, she criticized him. After all of this time, what she says is, ‘I wouldn’t say anything unless it could stand as the last thing (I’d say)’.”


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