FLASH: Nansen Diary Excerpted in MHQ


I am pleased to announce that the Spring 2018 issue of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History features excerpts from Odd Nansen’s diary, From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps.  A copy of the excerpt can be found here.

Cover of Spring 2018 issue of MHQ

The excerpts cover a short window in time, from October 6, 1943, the day Nansen arrived in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, until November 11, 1943, barely a month later.  Even with only these seven diary entries, which have been edited for length, one soon learns of “the casual brutality and random terror that was the way of life—and death—in the camps.”  Also included are photos of Nansen, Sachsenhausen, and several of Nansen’s prison sketches.

MHQ has been publishing articles, excerpts, reviews and other items of interest dealing with all facets of military history since 1988 (I know, I was an inaugural subscriber).  Over the years the magazine has featured such notable authors as: William Manchester, Paul Fussell, John Keegan, Antony Beevor, Stephen Ambrose, Rick Atkinson, Andrew Roberts (who wrote a blurb for From Day to Day) and Roger Moorhouse (whom I used as a source for my diary annotations), among others.

It is certainly fitting that Nansen’s work should receive such attention and recognition as well.  As one reviewer wrote when the diary first appeared in English in 1949: “[T]here is little in Day After Day [the English title] that cannot be found in a hundred other books.  The one difference is that it is a masterpiece.”

A Young Odd Nansen

Hopefully someday Odd Nansen’s diary will be as well known, and revered, as Anne Frank diary, Primo Levi’s memoirs and Ellie Wiesel’s trilogy.  With this spread in MHQ, Nansen is one step closer to that goal.

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"Your presentation was outstanding, and the audience was captivated by your deep and touching involvement in this amazing web of World War history, intrigue, and tragedy. Your deep understanding of the Nansen/Buergenthal connection really helped to bring history alive for our members."

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On This Date

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  • V-E Day. Allied military mission arrives in Norway to coordinate German capitulation.
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