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Vasily Grossman Quotes

Vasily Grossman Quote: “Good men and bad men alike are capable of weakness. The difference is simply that a bad man will be proud all his life of one good deed – while an honest man is hardly aware of his good acts, but remembers a single sin for years on end.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “In the cruel and terrible time in which our generation has been condemned to live on this earth, we must never make peace with evil. We must never become indifferent to others or undemanding of ourselves.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Humanity will live as long as there are humans.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There are people whose souls have just withered, people who are willing to go along with anything evil – anything so as not to be suspected of disagreeing with whoever is in power.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “At war a Russian man puts on a white shirt. He may live in sin, but he dies like a saint.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There’s nothing more difficult than saying goodbye to a house where you’ve suffered.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There is a deep and undeniable sadness in all this: whenever we see the dawn of an eternal good that will never be overcome by evil – an evil that is itself eternal but will never succeed in overcoming good – whenever we see this dawn, the blood of old people and children is always shed.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Such is time: everything passes, it alone remains; everything remains, it alone passes. And how swiftly and noiselessly it passes. Only yesterday you were sure of yourself, strong and cheerful, a son of the time. But now another time has come – and you don’t even know it.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “The more they talked and argued, the less they understood each other. In the end they fell silent, full of mutual contempt and hatred. And in this silence of the dumb and these speeches of the blind, in this medley of people bound together by the same grief, terror and hope, in this hatred and lack of understanding between men who spoke the same tongue, you could see much of the tragedy of the twentieth century.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “I don’t want you to be young and beautiful. I only want one thing. I want you to be kind-hearted – and not just towards cats and dogs.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “And in this silence of the dumb and these speeches of the blind, in this medly of people bound together by the same grief, terror and hope, in this hatred and lack of understanding between men who spoke the same tongue, you could see much of the tragedy of the twentieth century.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Why do people have memories? It would be easier to die – anything to stop remembering.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There is a terrible similarity between the principles of Fascism and those of contemporary physics. Fascism has rejected the concept of a separate individuality, the concept of ‘a man’, and operates only with vast aggregates. Contemporary physics speaks of the greater or lesser probability of occurrences within this or that aggregate of individual particles. And are not the terrible mechanics of Fascism founded on the principle of quantum politics, of political probability?”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “No one has the right to lead other people like sheep. That’s something even Lenin failed to understand. The purpose of a revolution is to free people. But Lenin just said: “In the past you were led badly, I’m going to lead you well.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Everyone feels guilty before a mother who has lost her son in a war; throughout human history men have tried in vain to justify themselves.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “How can you tear something out of your heart? Your heart isn’t made of paper and your life isn’t written down in ink. You can’t erase the imprint of years.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There is only one truth. There cannot be two truths. It’s hard to live with no truth, with scraps of truth, with a half-truth. A partial truth is no truth at all. Let the wonderful silence of this night be the truth, the whole truth... Let us remember the good in these men; let us remember their great achievements.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “I don’t believe in your “Good”. I believe in human kindness.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “It is the writer’s duty to tell the terrible truth, and it is a reader’s civic duty to learn this truth. To turn away, to close one’s eyes and walk past is to insult the memory of those who have perished.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Let’s be kind and attentive to the individual man – whether he’s a bishop, a peasant, an industrial magnate, a convict in the Sakhalin Islands or a waiter in a restaurant. Let’s begin with respect, compassion and love for the individual – or we’ll never get anywhere.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Man’s innate yearning for freedom can be suppressed but never destroyed. Totalitarianism cannot renounce violence. If it does, it perishes. Eternal, ceaseless violence, overt or covert, is the basis of totalitarianism. Man does not renounce freedom voluntarily. This conclusion holds out hope for our time, hope for the future.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “He was endowed with the extraordinary powers of endurance characteristic of madmen and simpletons.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “I can tell you as a surgeon that there is one truth, not two. When I cut someone’s leg off, I don’t know two truths. If we start pretending there are two truths, we’re in trouble. And in war too – above all, when things are as bad as they are today – there is only one truth. It’s a bitter truth, but it’s a truth that can save us. If the Germans enter Stalingrad, you’ll learn that if you chase after two truths, you won’t catch either. It’ll be the end of you.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Perfect worlds do not exist. There are only the funny, strange, weeping, singing, truncated, and imperfect universes created by the gods of paintbrush and musical instruments, the gods who infuse their creations with their own blood, their own soul. When he looks at these worlds, the true Lord of Hosts, the creator of the universe, probably cannot help but smile mockingly.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “As she passed her son-in-law’s room, she would repeat a joke she had heard from the workers at the factory: ‘We, the owners, must be at work by six, our employees by nine.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Time is a transparent medium. People and cities arise out of it, move through it and disappear back into it. It is time that brings them and time that takes them away.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “We should call on the Creator to show more modesty. He created the world in a frenzy of excitement. Instead of revising his rough drafts, he had his work printed straightaway. What a lot of contradictions there are in it. What a log of typing errors, inconsistencies in the plot, passages that are too long and wordy, characters that are entirely superfluous. But it is painful and difficult to cut and trim the living cloth of a book written and published in too much of a hurry.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “In the blank wall of the world’s indifference there had appeared a tiny snakelike fissure.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “What constitutes the character of a nation is the character of many individual human beings; every national character is in essence, simply human nature. All the worlds nations, therefore, have a great deal in common with one another. The foundation of any national character is human nature. The foundation of national character is simply a particular colouring taken on by human nature, a particular crystallisation of it.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “I have written only what I have thought through, felt through and suffered through.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “In spite of everything, life would go on, the life of a nation making its way through a land of stone.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “He had lived without her before. He could get over it! In a year or so he’d be able to walk straight past her without his heart so much as missing a beat. He needed her as much as a drunk needs a cork! But he understood all too quickly how vain these thoughts were. How can you tear something out of your heart? Your heart isn’t made out of paper and your life isn’t written down in ink. You can’t erase the imprint of years.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “A soft, gentle light fell on the forest-floor, diffused by a screen of foliage. The air itself was thick and congealed; a fighter-pilot, accustomed to a rushing wind, felt this very acutely.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “The law fights against life, and life fights against the law.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “During the thousand years of her history Russia had seen many great things. During the Soviet period the country had seen global military victories, vast construction sites, whole new cities, dams across the Dnieper and the Volga, canals joining different seas. The country had seen mighty tractors and skyscrapers... There was only one thing Russia had not seen during this thousand years: freedom.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Grossman, perhaps tiring slightly of journalism, seems to have longed to convey his thoughts and feelings about the war in fictional form. At this stage, when the Soviet Union was fighting for its life, his ideas were very close to that of the Party line. It was only at Stalingrad, a year later, that his view of the Stalinist regime began to change. This outline, may well have formed part of the idea for The People Immortal, his novel written and published the following year...”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There is one right even more important than the right to send men to their deaths without thinking: the right to think twice before you send men to their death.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “There was bread enough for us in the army, on the front line. We were fed by the Russian people. And no one had to teach them how to do it.” “You’re right there,” said the economist. “What matters is that we’re Russians. Yes, Russians – that’s quite something.” The inspector smiled and winked at his companion. It was as if he were saying those well-known words: “The Russian is the elder brother, the first among equals.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Bach felt the beauty and sadness of the moment. These men who defied the power of the Russian heavy artillery, these coarse, hardened soldiers who were dispirited by their lack of ammunition and tormented by vermin and hunger had all understood at once that what they needed more than anything in the world was not bread, not bandages, not ammunition, but these tiny branches twined with useless tinsel, these orphanage toys.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “I’ve realized now that hope almost never goes together with reason. It’s something quite irrational and instinctive.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Another fact that allowed Fascism to gain power over men was their blindness. A man cannot believe that he is about to be destroyed. The optimism of people standing on the edge of the grave is astounding.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “For a particular scene to enter into a person and become a part of their soul, it is evidently not enough that the scene be beautiful. The person also has to have something clear and beautiful present inside them.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “What’s really terrifying is when you realize that bureaucracy isn’t simply a growth on the body of the State. If it were only that, it could be cut off. No, bureaucracy is the very essence of the State.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “What Mostovskoy found most sinister of all was that National Socialism seemed so at home in the camp: rather than peering haughtily at the common people through a monocle, it talked and joked in their own language. It was down-to-earth and plebeian. And it had an excellent knowledge of the mind, language and soul of those it deprived of freedom.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “The longer a nation’s history, the more wars, invasions, wanderings, and periods of captivity it has seen-the greater the diversity of its faces.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “If Fascism should ever be fully assured of it’s final triumph, the world will choke in blood.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “Byerozkin knew very well that the man with no quiet at the bottom of his soul was unable to endure for long, however courageous he might be in combat. He thought of fear or cowardice, on the other hand, as something temporary, something that could be cured as easily as a cold.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “The labour of those who enjoy the confidence of the Party is imperceptible. But it is a vast labour – one must expend one’s mind and soul generously, keeping nothing back.”
Vasily Grossman Quote: “During the course of his life, dozens of interrogators had understood that he was neither a monarchist, nor a Socialist Revolutionary, nor a Social Democrat; that he had never been part of either the Trotskyist or the Bukharinist opposition. He had never been an Orthodox Christian or an Old Believer; nor was he a Seventh-Day Adventist.”
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