I am handing in my thesis tomorrow during my lunch break. This is very exciting! I also plan to go to the computer lab and use all of my print credit to make extra copies.
While it is great to be done with the thesis, I am by no means near finished with what I hope will be a book about my grandparents and how their struggles made me the person I am. Part of the research that I continue to do includes reading a book by Vasily Grossman called "Life and Fate." I mentioned this behemoth two or three posts ago. It follows people through the Battle of Stalingrad, the liquidation of a ghetto in the Ukraine, gulags, and Nazi death camps. When Grossman tried to publish it, it was deemed so dangerous that even the typewritter ribbons used to write it were destroyed by the KGB.
Grossman had been a reporter with the Red Army newspaper, and was one of the first people to arrive at Treblinka. His report (which is part of a book collecting his war writings that I ordered) was one of the first accounts of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews. Treblinka (and his mother's murder when her town was liquidated by the Nazis) changed his perspective about the world. In "Life and Fate," he wrote:
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.
I find it hard to breathe whenever I read that line.