What does Paul swear to Kemmerich's mother? Why does he do this?
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Paul swears an untruth to Kemmerich's mother to ease her mind, because he knows she needs the peace his lie will afford her.
"He died immediately. He felt absolutely nothing at all. His face was quite calm."
She is silent. Then she says slowly: "Will you swear it?"
"By everything that is sacred to you?"
Good God, what is there that is sacred to me?--such things change pretty quickly with us.
"Yes, he died at once."
"Are you willing never to come back yourself, if it isn't true?"
"May I never come back if he wasn't killed instantaneously."
I would swear to anything. But she seems to believe me. She moans and weeps steadily. I have to tell how it happened, so I invent a story and I almost believe it myself.
All Quiet on the Western Front