MARCEL MARCEAU SPOKE ONCE

A quiet man…. never uttering a word…. that was the trademark of the world’s most famous Mime…. the man that turned silence into an art. When one thinks of Marcel Marceau, one thinks of a funny little man with a painted face going through all sorts of body movements to make a point… bringing joy to millions while doing just that..

But once he spoke; in 2001 he granted an interview to a freelance journalist named Jeremy Josephs… what he said are words to be remembered… especially the last ones in the interview… “All wars are criminal”…… those words are from a holocaust survivor… a true believer in ‘NEVER AGAIN’—– TO ANYONE!

An excerpt from the interview mentioned follows, courtesy of The Forward

Marcel Marceau Remembered

Marcel Marceau, the legendary master of mime, died September 22 at age 84. Born Marcel Mangel to a Jewish family in Strasbourg, France, Marceau escaped the Nazis, joined the French Resistance and worked as a liaison to General Patton’s army. In 1946 he began studying acting in Paris, where he quickly established his career. The following excerpt was taken from a 2001 interview with Marceau by freelance journalist Jeremy Josephs:

I was once asked about my “Jewish sensitivity,” to which I replied that I would prefer to discuss human sensitivity. Jews are sensitive, like other people, but in the modern world religion should not be so high up [in] the order of the day. I was brought up in a Jewish home, but I was brought up to be human, not fanatical, which is something that I don’t appreciate at all. I learned to become a humanist, and not to dwell on the differences between Jews and Christians.

I must be honest and tell you that I do feel slightly uncomfortable with people dwelling on this Jewish aspect of my life. I have the greatest respect for the sufferance of the Holocaust — my father died in Auschwitz — so I am perfectly well aware of what happened. But this did not make me superior to other people.

I don’t want to be part of a community. I want to be part of the world. I have never been a victim of antisemitism — if you put to one side my war-time experience. That said, I am lucky not to have been sent into a concentration camp. I produced false papers, I took Jewish children to Switzerland when I was a teenager… and [after the war] I went to drama school with Etienne Decroux. But I never denied that I was Jewish. I wanted to give my art to the people.

The memory of the Holocaust is so important though. The 20th century was the most criminal century. Despite this, it has been a great century too. There is a balance between good and evil. But I am happy that the memory of the Holocaust is kept alive, so that such a tragedy can never begin again. But I would not put a Jew who died in the Holocaust above a Catholic soldier who died in the trenches of the First World War. All wars are criminal.

11 Comments

  1. Brice said,

    September 28, 2007 at 22:41

    What am amazing man!! A life in silence with so much to say. The tragedy is, those words will mostly fall upon deaf ears.
    As a musician I am also aware that at least half my life has been spent repeating words on stage that are truly nothing but fiction.
    At least I can honestly say the Maths was right in the backing music, and that I have also changed lives for the better in the majority of cases.

  2. Tak Kak said,

    September 29, 2007 at 00:22

    Thanks so much for your blog, and your peace efforts, and for posting these excerpts from Marcel’s interview.

    Tak (A Wobbly in Pennsylvania)

  3. the other anonymous said,

    September 29, 2007 at 02:23

    A man of few words but who managed to say so much truth with tham unlike Washingtoon where there are so many words said but so little that mean anything…

  4. Tom Dennen said,

    September 29, 2007 at 05:58

    my comment can be googled:

    tom dennen night of the clown

  5. Tom Dennen said,

    September 29, 2007 at 05:59

    google: tom dennen night of the clown

  6. Anonymous said,

    September 29, 2007 at 08:08

    Very humbling words.

    If I believed in a god I would be saying “God Bless You Marcel!”

  7. Anonymous said,

    September 29, 2007 at 08:21

    Marcel also spoke (one word) in the 1976 Mel Brooks movie “Silent Movie”

  8. Anonymous said,

    September 29, 2007 at 14:21

    Amazing where ever you look ,there are holocaust survivors and a few live to a ripe old age !

  9. Ian Thal said,

    September 29, 2007 at 16:59

    Actually, Marceau could be incredibly articulate and talkative in several languages. About the only time he didn’t talk was when he was on stage. Having met the man once I can say that he truly enjoyed connecting to people whether through silence or through words.

    His art form was wordless, but he enjoyed speaking.

  10. fjb said,

    September 29, 2007 at 18:50

    A beautiful man with a beautiful spirit. We could all do well to live by these words.

  11. Anonymous said,

    October 1, 2007 at 06:11

    A man of few words will choose them wisely and use them preciesely.

    Nice piece DP


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