He walked out like Frankenstein, big clunky black shoes connected to feeble looking legs. He was hunched over and because of this, he didn’t quite make direct eye contact with the audience. He hung towards the left of the stage for about two minutes while everyone stood and applauded.
Then things got quiet and he began to talk. He talked about things directly connected to the holocaust and things not so directly connected. His voice was like somebody’s voice you’ve heard a lot but can’t place. He reminded me of a tape I used to listen to before I’d fall asleep as a kid. Only the tape didn’t have a faintly Transylvanian accent.
He was funny. He talked about women. He talked about books a lot. He must have said the word “books” more than any other word that wasn’t “the” or “and.” He didn’t gesture a lot or at least I think he didn’t gesture a lot, but I was about 200 feet up in the air so I might not have been the best judge of that.
His legs didn’t move much and that I can tell from 200 feet up.
A fourteen-year-old boy asked him if he still had nightmares about Auschwitz. He said sometimes he’ll go months without having a nightmare.
He’s 84. I thought he would be older.
He waited ten years after Auschwitz before writing anything about that time. Then he wrote night. Then he wrote dawn. Then later he’d go on Oprah.
He still believes in god. Because he can’t forget is the reason.