A beautiful story about a Jewish school teacher in a town subjected to Nazi massacre. Rosenthal defends his right to commit suicide if life becomes unbearable. Time, and approaching fate, have worn him down, but his mind retains its sovereignty, visible through the windows of his eyes.

‘He rose to his full height. His hair, his face, his trembling fingers, his thin neck – everything had been dried out and made colorless by time. Everything about him looked transparent, light, weightless. Only in his eyes was there something not subject to time: the power of thought.’

 

Source: Vasily Grossman, ‘The Old Teacher’, The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays, trans. Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Olga Mukovnikova, afterword Fyodor Guber (New York: New York Review Books, 2010), p. 90

Photo credit: simonwijers at pixabay

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