A Little Reminder (Eine kleine Erinnerung)

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There is currently a small, very interesting, exhibition in the Paris National Library, to which even the fine people come, in their automobiles. The press has, justifiably, spoken a great deal about it, although it really isn’t very big. It contains a selection of exclusive treasures of the library: manuscripts, first editions, autographs, bindings, medals and old maps. And among these Renans, Lafontaines, Dantons, Bouchers, gold coins and leather bindings, I suddenly read in a glass case:

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Verdun (Vor Verdun)

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The first ruins appear along the railway lines – starting roughly at Vitry. Ruins, buildings without roofs, plaster hanging down, beams sticking up in the air. Only a small section – then the area becomes orderly and repectable, clean and nicely-built again. A lot of the houses seem to be new. The train stops. A carriage in a siding has the word ›FUMEURS‹ written on a door. The first two letters are hidden by a post, only the rest of the word is legible.

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