All Quotes tagged Jews(46)

[As the courtroom is at a recess, Legasov meets with Shcherbina outside]

Shcherbina: [Coughing] Do you know anything about this town, Chernobyl?

Legasov: Not really, no.

Shcherbina: It was mostly Jews and Poles. The Jews were killed in pogroms, and Stalin forced the Poles out. And then the Nazis came and killed whoever was left. But after the war people came to live here anyway. They knew the ground under their feet was soaked in blood, but they didn't care. Dead Jews, dead Poles. But not them. No one ever thinks it's going to happen to them. And here we are.

Legasov: How much time?

Shcherbina: Maybe a year. They call it a...[coughs] They call it a ‘long illness.’

Legasov: It doesn't seem very long to me.

Shcherbina: I know you told me, and I believed you. But time passed, and I thought, it wouldn't happen to me. I wasted it. I wasted it all for nothing.

Legasov: For nothing?

Shcherbina: Do you remember that morning when I first called you, how unconcerned I was? I don't believe much that comes out of the Kremlin, but when they told me they were putting me in charge of the cleanup and they said it wasn't serious, I believed them. You know why?

Legasov: Because they put you in charge.

Shcherbina: Yeah. I'm an inconsequential man, Valera. That's all I've ever been. I hoped that one day I would matter, but I didn't. I just stood next to people who did.

Legasov: There are other scientists like me. Any one of them could have done what I did. But you...Everything we asked for, everything we needed. Men, material, lunar rovers. Who else could have done these things? They heard me, but they listened to you. Of all the ministers, and all the deputies, entire congregation of obedient fools, they mistakenly sent the one good man. For god's sake, Boris, you were the one who mattered most.

Shcherbina: [Sees a small caterpillar on his lap and lets it crawl on his index finger] Ah, it's beautiful.

I also want to talk to you, quite frankly, on a very grave matter. Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly. Just as we did not hesitate on June 30th, 1934 to do the duty we were bidden, and stand comrades who had lapsed, up against the wall and shoot them, so we have never spoken about it and will never speak of it. It was that tact which is a matter of course and which I am glad to say, is inherent in us, that made us never discuss it among ourselves, never to speak of it. It appalled everyone, and yet everyone was certain that he would do it the next time if such orders are issued and if it is necessary. I mean the evacuation out of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. It's one of those things it is easy to talk about—'The Jewish race is being exterminated,’ says one party member, ‘that's quite clear, it's in our program—elimination of the Jews, and we're doing it, exterminating them.’ And then they come, 80 million worthy Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are vermin, but this one is an A-1 Jew. Not one of all those who talk this way has witnessed it, not one of them has been through it. Most of you must know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500 or 1000. To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written, for we know how difficult we should have made it for ourselves, if—with the bombing raids, the burdens and the deprivations of war—we still had Jews today in every town as secret saboteurs, agitators, and trouble-mongers. We would now probably have reached the 1916/17 stage when the Jews were still in the German national body.