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[Chapter 10] The Buried Candelabrum Everywhere I go I am a foreigner and, under the best of circumstances, a guest. The World of Yesterday, introduction The everlasting menorah . . . , like all of God’s mysteries, rests in the darkness of the ages. Who can tell whether it will remain so forever and ever, unseen and mourned by its people, who go on wandering from exile to exile; or whether, one day, it will be discovered when Israel once more comes into its own, and the resplendent menorah will shine in the Temple of Peace. The Buried Candelabrum, end ‘IenteredthebedroomandremainedthereIdon’tknowhowlongwithout raisingmyhead.Icouldn’torIdidn’twanttolook.Onthetwomodest beds, pushed together, lay the master with his handsome face slightly alteredbyitspaleness.Theviolentdeathhadnotleftanyvisiblesignsof violence;hewassleepingwithouthiseternalsmile,butwithenormous sweetnessandevengreaterserenity.Itappearsthathediedbeforeshe did. His wife must have seen the end of that life; she held him by his headwithherrightarm,andallofherfacewashiddenbyherhusband. On being separated from his body, her arm and hand had remained twistedandrigid;itwasnecessarytouseforceonthatfragileandhard little body in order to place it into the coffin. The woman’s face was deformed. Nothing will be able to wipe away this image.’1 [. . .] Ontheverandatheirclosefriendsassembled,devastated.Someofthem completely crushed and withdrawn: Feder, Agache, Mistral, Strowski, Alberto Dines excerpts from Death in Paradise: The Tragedy of Stefan Zweig 94 alberto dines Koogan, Malamud. Others who had shown up persisted in the silly talk that fools make to get themselves through important moments. For instance, there was Stern, who kept assuring a reporter from the Revista da Semana that among Zweig’s projects was a biography of Santos Dumont, precisely the same information that, a week earlier, had so deeply irritated Zweig, the friend he was now mourning. To O Jornal the very same Stern bragged about writing the final chapter of Zweig’s autobiography. And Stefan hadn’t even said good-bye to him before committing suicide. Claudio de Souza kept up the endless task of dealing with the authorities. Both of them by that time had already perpetrated the hasty translation of his Final Statement, which, as Zweig’s last words, had taken several days to write. As he did every Monday, the tailor Henrique Nussembaum had gone to Rio to buy cloth and supplies. He had returned at five in the afternoon to find an odd commotion in the store. They were waiting to tell him about Zweig’s death. As the leader of the small Jewish community in Petropolis, he felt obliged to do something for his coreligious friend. He went to Gonçalves Dias Street, but the house was off limits. A policeman blocked his way, but the little man was brazen: ‘I stuck my finger right under his nose and said: “According to the deceased’s religion, you’re the one who doesn’t belong here!”’ Sincetheauthoritiesknewhim,theylethimgoinside.Later,during the vigil, when the bodies had already been transferred to the headquarters of the Petropolitan Academy of Letters at the Pedro II School (on November 15 Avenue), Nussembaum made another scene, and it wouldn’tbethelastone:hedemandedthatJewishritualberespected— the flowers and wreaths were to be placed in the other room and the coffins closed. Only those who wished to do so could open them.2 The early morning was cold. In the photos published by the Tribuna de Petrópolis, the groups of strangers who kept vigil over the suicides were well bundled up. The icy gust of the European winter had finally reached paradise. On Tuesday, February 24, the country awoke to the tragedy of the suicide. The morning newspapers, unmoved, maintained their rigid practice of reporting only international news on the front page. In Zweig’s circle, the suicide was being interpreted as another casualty of war; however, from the viewpoint of the morning papers, this was not war news and so was noticeably relegated to the inside pages. The Excerpts from Death in Paradise 95 evening newspapers, on the other hand, covered their front pages with dramatic headlines about the tragedy.3 Summer would only officially end on March 20, but the euphoria had petered out, the season of pleasure and joy finished. Just one week after carnival and here was another day of ashes: a poet had fallen. The sinking of two Brazilian freighters, the patriotic feelings kept at bay by the militaristic state, the will to fight for grand causes, all converged upon that solitary death. The feelings of regret blew into the quivering leaves of the trees. The news that Stefan and his wife, Lotte, were to be buried in Petropolis at four...

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