When I was a wee lad, I was a drama geek and was assigned a monologue from Elie Wiesel’s, Night, to perform. Back then, I had no idea that I’d been given this monologue b/c I was Jewish. Yeah, I know.
Here’s that monologue, in part:
Could one sleep here? Was it not dangerous to allow your vigilance to fail, even for a moment, when at any minute death could pounce upon you?
I was thinking of this when I heard the sound of a violin. The sound of a violin, in this dark shed, where the dead were heaped on the living. What madman could be playing the violin here, at the brink of his own grave? Or was it really an hallucination?
It must have been Juliek.
He played a fragment from Beethoven’s concerto. I have never heard sounds so pure. In such a silence.
How had he managed to free himself? To draw his body from under mine without my being aware of it?
It was pitch dark. I could hear only the violin, and it was as though Juliek’s soul were the bow. He was playing his life. The whole of his life was gliding on the strings — his lost hopes, his charred path, his extinguished future. He played as he would never play again.
I shall never forget Juliek. How could I forget that concert, given to an audience of dead and dying men! To this day, whenever I hear Beethoven played my eyes close and out of the dark rises the sad, pale face of my Polish friend, as he said farewell on his violin to an audience of dying men.
I do not know for how long he played. I was overcome by sleep. When I awoke, in the daylight, I could see Juliek, opposite me, slumped over, dead. Near him lay his violin, smashed, trampled, a strange overwhelming little corpse.
Rest well, Mr. Wiesel. I know now why I was given you to memorize.
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