The buried manuscript of a Greek Jewish inmate of Auschwitz.
In a Q&A with the editors of Sephardi Lives, each was asked to share some of what they regarded as being the most memorable stories recorded in the compendium of Sephardi experience on which they collaborated, collecting and translating—with the help of other scholars in the field—over 150 documents written by or about Sephardi Jews. Co-editor Julia Phillips Cohen mentioned (among others) a diary, partially erased by time, written by a Greek Jew named Marcel Nadjary who was interned at Auschwitz. Of this record she says:
Amazingly, the manuscript—which bears witness to Nadjary’s dogged refusal to be cowed by the dehumanizing experience of the camp, his enduring faith in God, and his deep attachment to Greece—was discovered between Birkenau’s Crematoria I and II in 1980. Much of the original was by then lost to the ravages of time, leaving only a fragmented text full of spaces that can no longer be filled in. Somehow, to my mind, these absences do not detract from the text but instead make it even more powerful. They bear testimony not only to the story of the man who had the courage to write and bury his manuscript while imprisoned in Auschwitz but also to the incredible material history of the text itself and to its reappearance in the world after so many decades.