Auschwitz was not a “derailment of history” but a necessity and many signs imply that it will happen again, Holocaust-surviving Hungarian writer Imre Kertész, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, said in an interview given to the German news agency dpa on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp.
In the interview, the 85-year-old writer highlighted that concerning the Holocaust, his interests lie not in his own story but in language, namely “in what kind of language can it be uttered” that six million Jews “are simply exterminated”. He added that the question relates not only to Auschwitz but also to Hungary, because he experienced the “language of totalitarian dictatorship” also in Hungary following his imprisonment at Auschwitz-Birkenau, during the Communist Rákosi and Kádár regimes.
The writer, who is best-known for his Nobel Prize-winning novel Fateless, said that “not a derailment of histiory but necessity lead to Auschwitz being made possible” and “many signs imply that it could happen again”. In reference to the Paris massacre, he said that it has been his opinion even before the recent attacks that “democracy is unable to protect itself” and fails to recognise threatening menace. “Can you imagine, for example, that Paris will be a Muslim city two hundred years from now?”, he asked.
European culture could possibly cease to exist if “we fail to find a way to protect it through democratic means”, he said, pointing out that “strong people” are needed for its defence. European culture and values can only be protected if we “protect democracy outwards and conserve it outside”, he said. Responding to a question whether this is possible, he said “I don’t know. Perhaps.”.
photo: hvg.hu/Gergely Túry