Y.L Peretz: Vegn geshikhte/On History
(translated from the Yiddish by Sol Liptzin)
A Jew of my acquaintance sat down near me in a Warsaw park and asked me why I was so sad.
“Graetz is dead,” I answered.
“God’s will!” said my acquaintance. “One of our townsfolk, I suppose?”
This question, which 90 percent of the Jews would have asked in his place, is a measure of the abyss into whichÂ we have fallen…
When I informed my neighbor that Graetz was an historian who wrote the history of the Jewish people, he commented:
“Oh, history!” His voice had the same ring as if he were told that somebody had just eaten a dozen hard-boiled eggs at one time.
Just as I was about to get angry, he continued very naively:
“And what’s the use of history?”