His dictionary of Nazi words was, at one level, a desperate undertaking: If he could reverse-engineer the language, he might be able to figure out how everything he had known and loved had been destroyed. But the project had other, more practical functions as well. And he was aiming, too, at the future, for a time when the documentary evidence of the genocide might be indecipherable without some kind of linguistic key.
Blumental never completed his second volume, and his papers show how the project metastasized over time, especially as he gained access to fresh source material from newly opened Nazi archives. Blumental, like the other members of the commission, carried out his postwar research scientifically and methodically. But this was never just detached historical inquiry. It was also about memorializing the dead. In the case of Nachman Blumental, he opted for separation.
Among his papers, there is a chilling example of how his analytical gaze collided with his personal pain. In , he traveled to the village where Maria and Ariel were killed in June Blumental arrived with his notebook, intent on a forensic investigation, interviewing multiple villagers who witnessed the murder.
His wife was passing as a Catholic woman and hiding with their son when they were arrested by Polish policemen.
A Nazi officer then led them to the local Jewish cemetery and shot them. She did not want to look at the death of her son. She did not want to undress. He shot at the child, he shot once and injured him, he shot a second time and killed him. The child was screaming. My wife was buried without clothes.
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Born: in Kaluszyn, Poland. Born: January 24, in Radom, Poland. Born: in Gabin, Poland. Born: June 26, in Warsaw, Poland. Born: March 2, in Chisinau, Romania. Born: in Plock, Poland. Born: June 8, in Szentes, Hungary.
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