Sunday, March 25, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

A month later I arrived in Paris.

I arrived with you.

I had them send two large trunks with my books. I demanded that firmly: I would need those books with me. I could not teach without them, without seeing them, without smelling them. They were my life and my work. They did not suspect that if I was taking them, if I was so bent on having them next to me, it was because in truth I wasn’t travelling to Paris. I was fleeing Germany.

I arrived in Paris with something else: With the Luger pistol, that I’d inherited from my father and that – over those long years – I had cared for, cleaning it with a fine oil that slid lovingly between the small, subtle gears.

It remains here. It’s still lying on the desk. I write about it and it remains subsumed in inertia, in its impenetrable silence of a thing, but obliging, at hand.

Do I write everything I write? Or do I write what I write and, in addition, believe I write what I want to tell you? How far does this letter go? How many words does it have? Did I write it for you, for me, or for the two of us? I everything I believe I wrote written down? And if not, that, the unwritten, where did I write it, in my spirit, in my memory?

Everything I wanted to write and didn’t, everything I wished, everything I needed to write and time took no pity, all that is, nevertheless, in this letter, in between the holes, the opacities, the secrets of its lines. It is, son, inter-lineal. You’ll know how to find it.

I was advised (the Gestapo themselves did so) to be polite to the French citizens. We should not appear to be conquerors. We should live among them. And even to forge the links to have them on our side in the final confrontation with the Bolsheviks.

However, one heard, at night, the cries.

We all heard the cries in the night.


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