The Secret Miracle
How we cite our quotes:
"[T]wo or three adjectives in Fraktur were enough to persuade Julius Rothe of Hladik's preeminence, and therefore that he should be put to death – pour encourager les autres. (2)
Jaromir's "crime" – of being a prominent Jewish intellectual – is, under Nazi rule, enough to have him put to death. Ugh.
That delay (whose importance the reader will soon discover) was caused by the administrative desire to work impersonally and deliberately, as vegetables do, or planets. (2)
This sentence is a little strange. We expect that condemning someone to death would be a really personal act: it's not at all like the growth of a vegetable, or the orbit of a planet. But that's how the Nazis in this story try to treat the execution of Jewish people – like the operation of a machine, or an act of nature.
He noticed that the soldiers' eyes avoided his own. (9)
The soldiers who are scheduled to execute Jaromir can't look him in the eye. Is that because they want the act to remain impersonal? Or because they feel sorry for him? Maybe a bit of both?