Example 1. Text of Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw
I cannot remember ev’rything. I must have been unconscious most of the time. I remember only the grandiose moment when they all started to sing, as if prearranged, the old prayer they had neglected for so many years—the forgotten creed! But I have no recollection how I got underground to live in the sewers of Warsaw for so long a time.
The day began as usual: Reveille when it still was dark. Get out! Whether you slept or whether worries kept you awake the whole night. You had been separated from your children, from your wife, from your parents. You don’t know what happened to them
...how could you sleep?
The trumpets again. Get out! The sergeant will be furious! They came out; some very slow: the old ones, the sick ones; some with nervous agility. They fear the sergeant. They hurry as much as they can. In vain! Much too much noise, much too much commotion! And not fast enough! The Feldwebel shouts! »Achtung! Stilljestanden! Na wird’s mal? Oder soll ich mit dem Gewehrkolben nachhelfen? Na gut, wenn ihr’s durchaus haben wollt!«† The sergeant and his subordinates hit everybody: young or old, quiet or nervous, guilty or innocent
...it was painful to hear them groaning and moaning. I heard it though I had been hit very hard, so hard that I could not help falling down. We all on the ground who could not stand up were then beaten over the head ...
I must have been unconscious. The next thing I heard was a soldier saying: »They are all dead«, whereupon the sergeant ordered to do away with us. Then I lay aside—half-conscious. It had become very still—fear and pain. Then I heard the sergeant shouting:
They started slowly and irregularly: one, two, three, four; »Achtung!« the sergeant shouted again, »Rascher! Nochmal von vorn anfangen! In einer Minute will ich wissen wieviele ich zur Gaskammer abliefere!
They began again; first slowly: one, two, three, four, became faster and faster, so fast that it finally sounded like a stampede of wild horses, and all of a sudden, in the middle of it, they began singing the Shema Yisroel.
measures 81–99 (English Translation)
4Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. 7Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:4–7)
† “Stand at attention! Hurry up! Or do you want to feel the butt of my gun? Okay, you’ve asked for it!”
†† “Count off!”
††† “Quicker! Start again! In a minute I want to know how many I’m going to deliver to the gas chamber! Count off!”