Those who have been to my presentations, or have read my previous blog on the subject (here), know that I have always intended to give away any royalties from the sale of From Day to Day to a charity or charities that Nansen would have approved of.
Without repeating all of my earlier blog, I feel that the “intellectual property” involved is Nansen’s words, not my annotations, and over which I have no moral claim. More importantly, perhaps, is the example set by Nansen and his father Fridtjof Nansen. Odd Nansen gave away the royalties from the sale of the German translation of From Day to Day to German refugee agencies. His father Fridtjof, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922, donated nearly all the significant cash stipend that accompanied the award to reconstruction work in the Soviet Union, then recovering from a significant famine. How could I do less?
Recently I received my first distribution from Vanderbilt University Press, and forwarded 50% of the sum to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC, and 50% to HL-Senteret, the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, in Oslo, Norway. [This latter organization represents a slight change from my original intentions, which did not prove feasible, but was only done following consultations with Nansen’s daughter Marit Greve.]
The sum distributed was rather modest; it related only to sales from April 23, 2016, the book’s publication date, to June 30, 2016, the end of Vanderbilt’s fiscal year. In the course of my travels, two patrons also elected to me pay $10 more than the book’s sticker price, with the express stipulation that these monies also be sent along with my royalties, and I was happy to comply. Thanks to my two anonymous donors for your extra generosity.
With anti-Semitism on the rise throughout the world, and mindful of Primo Levi’s admonition: “It happened, therefore it can happen again,” I hope and pray that both the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center for Studies of the Holocaust continue their fine work, aided, indirectly, by Odd Nansen’s eloquent diary.