Notre Dame will host a virtual alumni event on May 4 in place of what usually would
have been a Washington, DC event. Tim Boyce '72 will be the featured presenter recounting the stories of two Holocaust survivors. Registration for the event is now open here.
In 2010, Boyce walked into his local bookstore, where a book entitled, A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy caught his eye. Written by Thomas Buergenthal, this memoir dove into the horrific details of a devastating childhood, as he told his story of being an incarcerated Jewish boy during the Holocaust. In the memoir, Buergenthal frequently mentions encounters with a man by the name of Odd Nansen.
Nansen was a Norwegian arrested in 1942 and subsequently transferred to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany, where he met Buergenthal. Boyce found Buergenthal's story fascinating and decided to do some more research on Odd Nansen. While Buergenthal wrote his memoir long after his childhood, Nansen kept a secret diary that was translated to English and published in 1949. Although the diary had been out of print for 60 years, Boyce obtained two copies. Thus began a six-year odyssey that resulted in the re-publication of a deluxe, fully-annotated edition of Nansen’s diary in April 2016. Thomas Buergenthal, now 86, has written a preface for the new edition, which also contains sketches by Nansen and diary entries never before available in English.
Remarkably due to Nansen's compassion, Buergenthal survived his time at Sachsenhausen, immigrated to the United States, studied law at Harvard, and eventually served as a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. A resident of Washington, D.C., Buergenthal recently asked Boyce to write his biography.