„Dear God, these are anxious times. Tonight for the first time I lay in the dark with burning eyes as scene after scene of human suffering passed before me. I shall promise You one thing, God, just one very small thing: I shall never burden my today with cares about my tomorrow, although that takes some practice. Each day is sufficient unto itself. I shall try to help You, God, to stop my strength ebbing away, though I cannot vouch for it in advance. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: that You cannot help us, that we must help You to help ourselves. And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves. And perhaps in others as well. Alas, there doesn't seem to be much You Yourself can do about our circumstances, about our lives. Neither do I hold You responsible. You cannot help us, but we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last.“

12 July 1942, p. 488-89
Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update March 11, 2022. History
Etty Hillesum photo
Etty Hillesum28
Jewish diarist 1914 - 1943

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Context: There is one great God and power that has made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in this world. This great God has written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one unto another. Now this great God has been pleased to make me concerned in your parts of the world, and the king of the country where I live has given unto me a great province therein, but I desire to enjoy it with your friends, else what would the great God say to us, who has made us not to devour and destroy one another, but live soberly and kindly together in the world.
Now I would have you well observe, that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that has been too much exercised towards you by the people of these parts of the world, who have sought themselves, and to make great advantages by you, rather than be examples of justice and goodness unto you; which I hear has been matter of trouble to you and caused great grudgings and animosities, sometimes to the shedding of blood, which has made the great god angry. But I am not such man as is well known in my own country. I have great love and regard toward you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind just, and peaceable life; and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly.

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—  Etty Hillesum Jewish diarist 1914 - 1943

The surface of the earth is gradually turning into one great prison camp, and soon there will be nobody left outside. … I don't fool myself about the real state of affairs, and I've even dropped the pretense that I'm out to help others. I shall merely try to help God as best I can, and if I succeed in doing that, then I shall be of use to others as well. But I mustn't have heroic illusions about that either.
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