Sad to hear of another giant of literature and vision passing awa. I translatit his ‘Night’ some time ago. As a national figure presented a racist, Fascist poster recently I was reminded of Primo Levi’s words about a would-be tyrant and the beautiful words on his lips. Even if they were brought up in Scotland.
From Elie Wiesel, ‘Night’. 2006 Marion Wiesel translation in Penguin Paperbacks (2008): ‘Born into a Jewish family in Romania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were rounded up by the Nazis, corralled into trains, and transported first to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and then to Buchenwald..’
Nicht-A Scots Translation
Niver wull A unnerstaun thon nicht, the
furst nicht in camp, thon turned ma
life intae ane lang nicht seeven times steekit.
Niver wull A forgit thon reek.
Niver wull A forgit the sma faces o the bairns whase bodies A Seen transformit
Intae reek unner a silent lift.
Niver wull A forgit thae flames that consumed ma faith foriver.
Niver wull A forgit the nocturnal seelence thon took fae me fer aw eternity o the desire tae live.
Niver wull A forgit thae moments thon murderit ma God an ma saul an turned ma dwams tae ashes.
Niver shall A forgit thae things, e’en wur A condemned tae live as lang as God
Scots Translation o Elie Wiesel
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never. Elie Wiesel
Even if only one free individual is left, he is proof that the dictator is powerless against freedom.