Conversation on Immortality

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Conversation on Immortality

Page 2

B. The logic is certainly strange. The authorities obviously prefer the possibility of a number of people being killed to that of a Jew with a chance of one in a million of being a German sympathizer escaping during an alert.

D. That is nonsense. First of all, it might not be just one refugee escaping, but the majority of them. Secondly, how do you know that they are all Jewish? Or that there are not people posing as refugees amongst us?

L. Enough of that. We have already discussed that, over and over again. I'd rather hear some of the arguments on Immortality. It is something different, I gather, from what old Phaedon had in mind.

The internees who were outside begin to stream back and slowly fill the hall. Two young men, Friedman and Weiss join the little group.

W. (who has heard the last few words) So, what did good old Phaedon say?

B. Good old Phaedon said nothing at all. Socrates tried to prove the immortality of the soul in a dialogue that bears the name 'Phaedon'.

F. How very interesting. However, you had better go and look for good old Kahan. The roll call is due in about a minute and this sergeant-major, or whatever he is, seems to be an unpleasant type.

B. goes out of the room and returns a few minutes later with Kahan. The internees begin to form two long parallel lines. An Officer and a sergeant-major enter the hall. Silence. The two men pass slowly down the lines of internees, counting.

Sgt. (to Officer) One hundred and fourteen.

The Officer nods and writes the figure down. They leave the hall, locking it again from the outside. The noise and talk flare up. A refugee called Dr Weissenberg gets up and calls for silence.

Dr.W. Will you please all listen. I have spoken to the sergeant-major about the people in this hall concerning the possibility of getting out during the night if someone feels sick or in any other emergency. He said that the person should knock at the door. The guard who controls the whole gangway would be at the door every quarter of an hour. But, he shouted at me, no more than six people should get out. Not like last night.

Laughter, talk, cries: One internee? What about the light?

Dr.W. The light goes out at ten o'clock. We may not have any torches (flashlights) or matches. You know that already. These windows cannot be blacked out.

Noise and discussion. L, S.,B.,D.,K.,F. and W. settle down on their bedsteads, which stand near one another in one corner of the hall.

S. Well, well. Who would have thought that when we came here as refugees to a free country, the first thing that would happen would be that we would be presented to our lovely countrymen to be bombed in a prison in Southampton.

D. That is demagogic rubbish! You seem to forget that some 150,000 Southamptonians outside these walls face exactly the same danger that is threatening your precious life. Be glad, I say, that you are here and not in the hands and lands of your lovely countrymen. Be grateful.