By Léon Werth, and edited and translated by David Ball
Description: Historians agree: the diary of Léon Werth (1878-1955) is one of the most precious–and readable–pieces of testimony ever written about life in France under Nazi occupation and the Vichy regime. Werth was a free-spirited and unclassifiable writer. He is the author of eleven novels, art and dance criticism, acerbic political reporting, and memorable personal essays. He was Jewish, and left Paris in June 1940 to hide out in his wife’s country house in Saint-Amour, a small village in the Jura Mountains. His short memoir 33 Days recounts his struggle to get there. Deposition tells of daily life in the village, on nearby farms and towns, and finally back in Paris, where he draws the portrait of a Resistance network in his apartment and writes an eyewitness report of the insurrection that freed the city in August, 1944. With biting irony, Werth records, almost daily, what Vichy-German propaganda was saying on the radio and in the press. We follow the progress of the war as people did then, day by day. These entries make interesting, often amusing reading, a stark contrast with his gripping entries on the persecution and deportation of the Jews. Deposition is a varied and complex piece of living history.
Publisher: Oxford University Press