Today is Odd Nansen’s 120th birthday.
Nansen has been described in many ways: humanitarian; architect; diarist; man of character. In my Introduction to From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps, I use the same words Primo Levi used to describe his friend Alberto Dalla Volta, whom Levi credits with saving his life while Levi and Dalla Volta were together in Auschwitz: “I always saw, and still see in him, the rare figure of the strong yet peace-loving man against whom the weapons of night are blunted.”
Happy Birthday, Odd Nansen
(The preceding first appeared, in slightly different form, on December 6, 2015)