Accident` by Elie Wiesel
Thank you for agreeing to give this interview, between your busy schedules. If you recall, this is my third meeting with you. Well, coming to the point, Dawn, Night and now Accident…another heart-rending story!
Wiesel: Fiction, experiencing the reality!
Larson: Any more books on the theme of holocaust?
Wiesel: Yes and no! There could be any number of books as for holocaust is concerned. If the recorded history tells us that six million Jews perished in the Nazi Concentration Camps etc. it is reasonable to assume that six million books can be written. Each suffering and death is an invaluable story. But a huge majority of the stories will never be told, because not even their graves exist.
Larson: Is the accident described in the book real? Many accidents are reported everyday. What is the difference between those accidents and this one?
Wiesel: Every accident is an accident from the secular point of view; but from the spiritual point of view it is an incident. Why a particular accident happens at a particular time to a particular individual? This is the question.
Larson: Do you connect the suffering of the accidental victim to your own suffering in the concentration camps?
Wiesel: To be honest, yes. Anything that abruptly happens in the life of in individual and puts him into a state of unbearable suffering is an accident. We were led to the concentration camps abruptly, when we were least mentally prepared for it. In the accident related in this book, the sufferer did not invite that suffering. It was forced upon him.
Larson: Any particular aim of this story apart from the dreaded theme of holocaust?
Wiesel: The aim is to show how one adjusts to the state of suffering. Whether one becomes brave or weak internally, is only known to that individual. He is the subject matter for study for many, the psychologist in particular.
Lrson: Is it possible for a holocaust victim to get complete satisfaction in life?
Wiesel: That’s impossibility. When in company, his attention is diverted and he may experience something that is akin to peace. But the real joy of human life will never emerge in his life. He has undergone a thousand life’s suffering during the holocaust. How can he wipe it out in the remaining part of this life? This suffering will never diminish.
Larson: Does the popularity of books give you some satisfaction?
Wiesel: Not the type satisfaction which is expected of a successful writer. It has been possible for me to tell something to the world, which should necessarily have been told-I possess that part of satisfaction.
Larson: Your protagonist in the book wishes to end his life, unable to cope up with the suffering caused on account of the accident. Did such a thought ever occur to you in the concentration camp?
Wiesel: It was not necessary—all of us knew that death was coming. I had to live for my father; he had to live for my sake.
Larson: Do you still consider yourself as a traumatized individual?
Wiesel: My family doctor says that often, when he refers to the line of treatment he has finalized for me.
Larson: What is the place for God in your life now?
Wiesel: I belong to the joyless religion of God!—the river of love and tender feelings were flowing in my heart once upon a time! Now the heart is like the barren patch of land.
Larson: Any message to the younger generation?
Wiesel: The present generation is combustible, and that is good! Live life in its trials, and tribulations its duty and beauty. My humble wish is, may you all get what you deserve!
Wiesel,Eie: The Accident
Mass Market Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Bantam (September 1, 1982)