- Hardcover: 624 pages
- Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press; 1 edition (April 25, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826521002
- ISBN-13: 978-0826521002
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From Day to Day: One Man's Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps 1st Edition
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"A long-forgotten masterpiece. In his secret diary, written inside the Nazi camps, the Norwegian prisoner Odd Nansen paints a deeply affecting picture of everyday terror, sketching the inmates' lives and deaths with exceptional clarity and compassion. Rarely has the inhumanity of the camps been captured with such humanity. An invaluable document for anyone interested in the Nazi camps."
--Nikolaus Wachsmann, author of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
"This extraordinary diary by a non-Jewish victim of the Nazi regime and its collaborators is a rich historical document. Nansen's stunning illustrations provide a pictorial narrative into the concentration camp world he endured. Superbly translated by Katherine John, his text renders his experience in clear, muscular prose. We see through his eyes and imagine what he describes. We follow him, day by day, as his diary traverses three and a half years--an eternity at that time--and moves with him from the Norwegian camp system, the Norwegian regime, and occupied Norway to his perspective on the German camp of Sachsenhausen, the Nazi regime in Germany, and the final disintegration of the Third Reich.
Timothy Boyce's introduction frames the diary beautifully, setting the diary years into the larger picture of Nansen's life with just the right balance between the private and the public. And his extensive editorial notes provide guideposts along the way."
--Debórah Dwork, Rose Professor of Holocaust History, Director, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and author of Flight from the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933-1946
"This is one of the most searing contemporaneous accounts of the Holocaust, but also one of the best written of the great documents of World War II. It is a profound indictment of evil, a daily diary of torment and torture, yet also somehow a deeply moving love letter. It should find a place on the bookshelf of every home, be taught in every school, made into a movie, and feted for what it says about man's capacity for humanity in the face of satanic loathsomeness. Mr. Nansen's decency and courage in the most vicious of circumstances shines through on every page; he personifies the civilization for which the Allies fought."
--Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War; Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945; and Napoleon: A Life
From reviews of the 1949 edition: "From Day to Day is unlike any other record of personal war experience which has yet appeared. There have been plenty of other accounts of imprisonment and concentration camps but none by a man like Mr. Nansen. Writing with no thought of publication, merely to keep a record for his wife and to express his own boiling emotions, Mr. Nansen somehow created a remarkable book. Using stolen paper and stolen time, always in fear of being caught, he described each day's adventures with stark simplicity and intimate authority. His book, although immensely long, is a continuously engrossing narrative. It is filled with vivid, concrete details, sharp character sketches, unspeakable horrors."
--Orville Prescott, New York Times
From reviews of the 1949 edition: "Most citizens, one hears, are fed up with books about the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps. But this book is different from all the others this reviewer has read. True, it does not slur over the unspeakable barbarities. But it rises above them and reminds us in never-to-be-forgotten pages how noble and generous the human spirit can be in the face of terrible adversity."
--William L. Shirer, New York Herald-Tribune
From reviews of the 1949 edition: "The first two-thirds of Day after Day can only be compared with Dostoevsky's House of the Dead; but compared with the last third of Hr. Nansen's book, The House of the Dead reads like Jane Austen. . . . It is a masterpiece. . . . The number of men who have successfully exploited the unique character of the diary as an art-form can still be counted on the fingers of one hand."
--Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Odd Nansen, a Norwegian architect, organized relief efforts for Jews and other refugees beginning in 1936, and was imprisoned by the Nazis in a series of concentration camps. After the war, he remained active in humanitarian work until his death in 1973.
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Because of his privileged treatment, this permitted Odd Nansen the time, the resources and the clarity of mind to author an objective 3rd party view of the workings of the concentration camps in which he was incarcerated for three and one-half years. And the capability to smuggle the contents of his diary out of the camps.
Under the circumstances, I certainly wouldn’t expect an upper class architect from a famed family (the explorer Fridtjof Nansen was Odd’s father) whose world has been turned upside down to spend too much time carefully editing his thoughts and observations, They were being written on stolen paper and secreted in various areas of the barracks until they could be smuggled out of the camps. And if the activity was found out, (which was, indeed the case, once) Odd would be liable for severe punishment and, perhaps, execution. So, I think he did a wonderful job of writing a diary which he believed only he and close friends would ever read.
And as far as the camp living conditions being “comfortable”, just wait until you get to the later chapters. All the brutal inhumanity of the “master race” is evident as well as the degradation of individuals in the quest for self-preservation.
All in all, a remarkable diary from a unique perspective.