pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

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On Priorities -- in Mark Jacobson's The Lampshade

I find this book profoundly upsetting. Not the author's writing, but the idea that anyone, anywhere, could stomach what was done.

As the Jewish author tries to track down the provenance of a lampshade purported to be made of the flesh of WW II concentration camp prisoners, he establishes DNA proof that it IS made of human flesh, but is attempting to pin it down more definitively. He interviews a young Black girl whose aunt has just moved into the house it was "liberated" from following Katrina's ravages of the city. The girl is suspicious, and will not tell him how to contact her aunt, but will take his number.

The quotation:

"What am I supposed to say you want?" Seeing no downside, I explained a bit about the lampshade.

The girl looked horrified. "You think it was in this house? They found it here? That's terrible!"

"I didn't say it was from here," I said, attempting to backtrack. ""I'm trying to find out about a story I heard."

The baby started to fuss as the girl gave me that look, like if she lived to be a thousand, she'd never understand why white people say and do the things they do. "You looking for something that used to be a person," she said. "People I know -- they're looking for people that are still people."

    -- Mark Jacobson in The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story From Buchenwald to New Orleans, p. 89, 2010 copyright.
Tags: quotation

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