"I examine a map of Prague, marking the locations of the families who helped and sheltered the parachutists. Almost all of them paid with their lives—men, women, and children. The Svatos family, a few feet from the Charles Bridge; the Ogoun family, near the castle; the Novak, Moravec, Zelenka, and Fafek families, all further east. Each member of these families would deserve his or her own book—an account of their involvement with the Resistance until the tragic denouement of Mauthausen. How many forgotten heroes sleep in history’s great cemetery? Thousands, millions of Fafeks and Moravecs, of Novaks and Zelenkas…
The dead are dead, and it makes no difference to them whether I pay homage to their deeds. But for us, the living, it does mean something. Memory is of no use to the remembered, only to those who remember. We build ourselves with memory and console ourselves with memory.
No reader could possibly retain this list of names, so why write it? For you to remember them, I would have to turn them into characters. Unfair, but there you go. I know already that only the Moravecs, and perhaps the Fafeks, will find a place in my story. The Svatoses, the Novaks, the Zelenkas—not to mention all those whose names or existence I’m unaware of—will return to their oblivion. But in the end a name is just a name. I think of them all. I want to tell them. And if no one hears me, that doesn’t matter. Not to them, and not to me. One day, perhaps, someone in need of solace will write the story of the Novaks and the Svatoses, of the Zelenkas and the Fafeks.”
From HHhH by Laurent Binet