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Having begun to peer into the murk of lost, partial, and often painful memory with Miep and Jan, I began collecting other untold or little-known stories, many but not all from World War II and the Shoah, at a time when the fact that witnesses were nearing their life’s end seemed to endanger these stories with forgetfulness. More fateful meetings ensued – with Claude Boule, Leo Bretholz, Zahava Bromberg, Dan Fante, Solly Ganor, Hannah Goslar, Marianne ­Christine Ihlen, Iakovos Kambanellis, Jane Mayhall, Padric McGarry, Irena Vrkljan Meyer-Wehlack and Benno Meyer-Wehlack, Jules Schelvis, Emilie ­Schindler, Yukiko Sugihara, Simon Wiesenthal, among others – resulting in further books, and a personal calling that continues to this day.

During these subsequent excavations, I always kept my personal life apart from my writing. Until today.

What I have ventured to do now is to gather fragments, materials, and letters to the living and the dead; letters to and from family, friends, friends of friends, strangers, associates, a translator, an editor, a lover. (I have occasionally used pseudonyms in order to protect an individual’s privacy.) All these bits and pieces spilled through my life and heart within the space of a few years.

Yesterday, I came across the magnifying glass that allows me to peer into my micrographically reduced Oxford English Dictionary. As I have been moving ­between countries recently, like I did when I was viii

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