Anti-Semitism in the Underworld:
An Experience in the Santé Prison
The first sign of a knowledge in birth is the desire to die. This life seems unbearable, another inaccessible. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one wishes to be transferred from the cell one detests to a new cell which one will learn to detest.
Franz Kafka (Diaries)
WE WERE arrested in a little hotel in the Latin Quarter after the proprietor had phoned the police; one of us was twenty and another twenty-one years old. Three others, seventeen and under, were released the next day.
The night of our arrest, the policemen around the police station took us for youthful gangsters or riotous students. But they soon found out about our political activity and became curious about us. Obviously no one knew anything about the Palestinian business, and they all regarded us as fanatics or playboys. Most of the time we just smiled; we kept up our pride, certain in any case of being in the right; this attitude may have saved us from the hostility of the policemen; perhaps it actually aroused their interest.
About the Author