“Klaas, all really wanted to say is this: we have so much work to do on ourselves that we shouldn’t even be thinking of hating our so-called enemies. We are hurtful enough to one another as it is. And I don’t really know what I mean when I say that there are bullies and bad characters among our own people, for no one is really ‘bad’ deep down. I should have liked to reach out to that man with all his fears, I should have liked to trace the source of his panic, to drive him ever deeper into himself, that is the only thing we can do, Klass, in times like these.
“And you, Klass, give a tired and despondent wave and say, ‘But what you propose to do takes such a long time and we don’t really have all that much time, do we? …
“And I repeat with the same old passion, although I am gradually beginning to think that I am being tiresome, ‘It is the only thing we can do, Klass, I see no alternative, each of us must turn inwards and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others. And remember that every atom of hate we add to this world makes it still more inhospitable. …'”
cited: The Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, pp.179-180.
“…talking to you, God. Is that all right? With the passing of people, I feel a growing need to speak to You alone. I love people terribly, because in every human being I love something of You. And I seek You everywhere in them and often do find something of You. But now I need so much patience, patience and thought, and things will be very difficult. …”
~Trans: Arno Pomerans Hillesum, E. An Interrupted Life p. 16
“… What a bizarre new landscape, so full of eerie fascination, yet one we might also come to love again. We human beings cause monstrous conditions, but precisely because we cause them we soon learn to adapt ourselves to them. Only if we become such that we can no longer adapt ourselves, only if, deep inside, we rebel against very kind of evil, will we be able to put a stop to it. Aeroplanes, streaking down in flames, still have a weird fascination for us – even aesthetically – though we know, deep down, that human beings are being burnt alive. As long as that happens, while everything within us does not yet scream out in protest, so long will we find ways of adapting ourselves, and the horrors will continue.”
cited: Trans: Arno Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941 – 1943, p. 81.