Seventy-four years ago tonight Odd Nansen, on holiday with his wife and three children in the mountains outside Lillehammer, was visited by three Nazis. He was not arrested, merely asked to come to Oslo to answer some questions. Nansen was in fact never charged with any crime, but was held as a hostage for the next 40 months, until the closing days of the war. The diary he secretly, and at significant risk, kept throughout those 40 months later became “From Day to Day.”
At the same time, hundreds of miles away, a seven year-old boy, Thomas Buergenthal, was sharing a one-room apartment with his parents in the Jewish ghetto of Kielce, Poland, hoping to survive the war. Nansen’s and Buergenthal’s paths would not cross until three years later, in Sachsenhausen, Germany, but from it grew a life-long friendship, and the inspiration for Buergenthal to pursue a career dedicated to international human rights.
Vanderbilt University Press has just issued its Spring book catalogue online—here’s the link to the forthcoming edition of “From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps”.
One critic calls the diary “A long-forgotten masterpiece” and writes “Rarely has the inhumanity of the camps been captured with such humanity.”