Page 36 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
But orders were even more sacred than music to him and
recently there had been many orders that had reduced his
choir. The Hungarian ghettos and camps were being cleared
and because the larger camps to which he had previously
sent Jews had been dissolved and because his small camp
had no rail-link he had to kill all inmates inside the camp.
Even so there were still sufficient commandos—for the kit­
chen, the baths, the crematorium—left to preserve at least
individual singers.
Filskeit did not like killing. He had never yet done any
in person and the fact that he could not bring himself to
do it was one of his abiding disappointments. He realized
the necessity for it and he admired the killing-directives
which he caused to be carried out to the letter. Obviously
what mattered was not whether one liked carrying out the
orders but whether one realized the necessity for them,
honored them and put them into execution.
My last excerpt from Boll shows the dreadful confrontation
between the demon Filskeit and one of his victims—a Hungarian
Jewess converted to Catholicism, who had formerly taught music
at a convent school.
In the room was a man who wore officer’s uniform. He
had a small impressive cross-shaped silver decoration on his
chest. His face looked pale and suffering and when he raised
his head to look at her she was startled to see his chin
which was so heavy that it almost disfigured him. He put
out his hand silently, she gave him the card and waited:
fear had not yet come to her. The man read the card,
looked at her and said quietly, “Sing something.”
She hesitated. “Come on” he said impatiently “sing some­
thing—anything.” She looked at him and opened her mouth.
She sang the All Saints’ Litany to a setting she had only
recently come across and had wanted to rehearse with her
pupils. She sang beautifully—without knowing that she
smiled in spite of the fear which slowly rose inside her
throat like nausea.
Since she had started to sing it had grown quiet, outside
as well. Filskeit stared at her. She was beautiful, a woman—
he had never had a woman yet—his whole life had been
spent in lethal chasteness. His life had been acted out when
he stood before the mirror, looking in vain for beauty,
greatness and racial perfection. And here was beauty, great­
ness and racial perfection linked to something which com­
pletely paralyzed him: faith. He could not understand why
he allowed her to continue. Maybe he was dreaming. In
her expression—although he noticed that she was trembling