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Revealing Manuscript found in Auschwitz-Birkenau
How we recovered text from manuscript found in the 80’s near the crematorium 3 in Auschwitz-Birkenau

on October 24, 1980, when cleaning the area near the ruins of the third crematorium at a depth of about 30 cm student of the local College found a glass flask from a thermos, closed with a plastic stopper.

12 pages was inside for 35 years, their condition has deteriorated. Some of them were read, and the find was immediately accepted to the state Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The manuscript

Color scan was got from flatbed scanner and consists of 3 different grayscale images. All channels show different readability. In our case readability is improving  from BLUE to RED . It means manuscript has a big potential under Infra Red light .
I will not show you the enlarged fragments, the text is seen badly in this scale, but on the left in the red channel the text is the most readable. The green one in the center is worse. And in the latter-blue, text visually absent.
For this task, I used a photoshop filter Black&White. Unfortunately, I have not found any analogues in other programs. This filter allow to reproduce effects from colorspaces switching but more flexible. I used channel mixer before but filter is not provide feeling that I will find ideal combination. (for notes, in another manuscript channel mixer worked with less artefacts)
The filter parameters are shown in the figure above. I intentionally skip a point in the constant use of the Curve filter as it is too obvious. As a result, at this stage, although the readability of the text has increased significantly: some words have become better visible, but we are prevented by too dark and too light areas. To eliminate these artifacts, we will use a high pass filter because it was designed to compress the signal brightness component.
It’s funny to be surprised at the simplicity of the process. In the beginning I tried a lot of approaches with a channel mixer, the transformation of color spaces. This set of filters remained the most effective.

But something jarred me. I was feeling nervous. You look at these images and you suffer. Something else can be done, but here’s what?

And in a couple of weeks I finally get it: Marcel kept a diary on two pages of one sheet and dark spots are artifacts of leaked ink. 

Of course! How could you not see that before? They are, look for yourself.
we need to very accurately combine the two images. It should be understood that the scanner is a mechanical device, and each time you scan the same sheet, it can stretch or compress it. Therefore, the overlay of two images should be carried out with the fit not only the angle but also the scale in a very small value. It was necessary to be guided on through artifacts at a sheet. This task turned out to be quite difficult, required pixel accuracy, which I did not immediately succeed.
After I’ve combined the sheet and its opposite direction, it is required to do the following trick:

1. Invert the colors of the overlay layer (the back page that lies on the top layer)

2. Simulate the natural moisture blurring of the ink with Gaussan Blur filter with HighPass to”taste”.( Gaussian Blur is sometimes necessary to replace the Surface Blur, because he’s not “ringing” on the edges of the document. But since it is much more voracious, it is inconvenient for experiments.)

3.Set the transparency of this layer to 50%
After that, the image looks flat as we put our noise into the antiphase. But if you now apply the filter Black&White, the result will be as follows:
That’s a different thing!
As a result, each page of the manuscript was subjected to such processing. If from 12 source sheets 11 scans were unreadable by 100%, then after processing readable fragments were marked on all sheets.
All these pages were sent to Pavel Polian, who sent them to his colleague at the University of Freiburg, a native speaker of the modern Greek language and a historian. He has long they were waiting and preparing for the start of the English translation. He also contacted the Jewish community in Thessaloniki through his channels. They reached out to Nellie’s daughter. We’ve got more translators.

And now the result of the translation:

NOTE: The letter opens with requests in German, Polish and French for the reader to immediately deliver the package to the nearest Greek consulate.
Please send this
letter to the
nearest Greek
Consulate
I request that the enclosed
letter be delivered to the next
Greek Consul.
[…] ces quelques mots
par[s?] un condamne [?] a mort […]
[…] le remettre en plus prochain
Consulat de la Grece
Dimitrios A. Stefanides
Rue Kroussovo No 4
Thessaloniki
GRECE

To my dear Dimitris Athan.[asius] Stefanidis, Ilias Koen,- Georgios Gounaris.
To my beloved companion, Smaro Efraimidou and so many more, of whom I will always think, and finally, to my beloved fatherland: “ELLAS,” to whom I was always a good citizen. –
On April, 1944 we were transported from our Athens, after I suffered through a month in the camp Chaidari where I always [word crossed out] received good Smaro’s packages, and his efforts on my behalf remain unforgettable in these terrible days I am going through. …always, that you … search … for her.
Dear Misko and at sometime … get her address for me … our Ilias and that you always look after him … and that Manolis (an alias Nadjary used for himself) has not forgotten them.

But also that it looks like we will unfortunately not see one another again. –
After a journey of ten days we arrived at Auschwitz on April 11 where they brought us to the camp Birkenau, we stayed approximately one month in quarantine and from there they relocated us, both the healthy and the sick. Where? Where, dear Misko? To a crematorium, I will explain for you below our lovely work that the Almighty wanted to have us perform. –

It is a large building with a wide chimney with 15 ovens. Underneath a garden there are two huge endless cellars. The one serves as a place to undress and the other as a death chamber, where the people enter naked and after the room is filled with approximately 3000 people, it is locked and they are gassed, where they breathe their last after 6 to 7 minutes of martyrdom. Our work consisted of first receiving them; most did not know the reason … breaking down or sobbing they were told that … this was for a bath … and they went to their deaths suspecting nothing. –

Until today… I said that each … (fragments of words that cannot be deciphered) … I said to them, that I didn’t understand the language in which they spoke to me, and to those people, men and women, where I could see that their fate was sealed, I told the truth. –
After … all naked, they went further into the death chamber in which the Germans had affixed pipes on the ceiling … so they would believe, that the bath was being prepared, with whips in their hands the Germans drove them closer and closer together, so that the largest number possible would fit, a real sardine tin of people, after which they hermetically sealed the door. The boxes of gas always came in cars from the German Red Cross with two SS people … It was the gas people that then poured the gas through the openings. 

After a half hour we opened the doors and our work began. We carried the corpses of these innocent women and children to the elevator, which transported them to the room with the ovens, and there they put them in the ovens, where they burnt without the aid of fuel because of the fat that they had. 

A person produced only about half an okka (640 grams) of ashes, bones that the Germans forced us to crush, to then press through a coarse sieve, and then a car picked it up and poured it into the Vistula River (actually the River Sola), which flows by in the area and thus they eliminate all traces.

The dramas my eyes have seen are indescribable. About 600 000 Jews from Hungary have passed by my eyes, — French — Poles from Litzmannstadt, roughly 80 000, and now most recently about 10 000 Jews from Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia arrived. –
Today a transport came from Theresienstadt, but thank God they were not brought to us, they kept them in camps, which means that the order was given not to kill any more Jews, and that appears to be the case, they changed their minds at the last moment — now that there isn’t a single Jew left in Europe, but for us things are different, we must disappear from the face of the earth, because we know so much about the unimaginable methods of their abuses and reprisals.

Our unit is called the special unit, it included at the beginning about 1000 people, of these 200 Greeks and the rest Poles and Hungarians, and after heroic resistance, because they wanted to only remove 800, because all one hundred outside of the camp and the others inside. My good friends Viko Brudo and Minis Aaron from Thess/niki were killed in action. They will eliminate us too, now that this command has been given, we are 26 Greeks overall and the remaining ones are Polish. At least we Greeks are determined to die like true Greeks, just like every Greek knows how to leave life, by showing until the very last moment, despite the dominance of the criminals, that Greek blood is flowing through our veins, like we have also shown in the war against Italy.

My dearests, when you are reading what work I have done, you will say: how could I, Manolis, or anybody else, do this work and burn fellow believers. At the beginning I told myself the same thing, many times, I thought about joining them, in order to end everything. However, the thing that kept me from doing so was revenge; I wanted and I want to live, to revenge the deaths of Dad and Mum, and that of my beloved little sister Nelli.

I am not afraid of dying, after all, how could I fear it, after everything that my eyes have seen? Because of this, dear Ilias, my beloved little cousin, you, and all my friends, should know your duty, once I am no longer. From my little cousin Sarrika Chouli you remember her, the small one that was at my house back then? Who still lives, I learned, that Nellika was together with your little sister Errika, until their very last moment. My only wish is that what I am writing reaches your hands. My family’s property, I leave for you, Misko, with the request that you will take in Ilias, my cousin. Ilias is a Koen and you should view him as if he were myself, you should always look out for him, and in case my cousin Sarika Chouli comes back, you should treat her, dear Misko, like your beloved niece Smaragda, since here we are all experiencing things that the human mind isn’t able to imagine. –
Remember me from time to time, like I am remembering you. –
Fate doesn’t want me to see our Greece as a free man, as I experienced it on 12.10.43. Whenever someone asks after me, simply say that I no longer exist, and that I have gone as a true Greek.

Help all those, dear Miskos, who come back from the Birkenau camp. –
I am not sad, dear Misko, that I will die, but that I won’t be able to avenge myself the way I would like to. If you receive a letter from my relatives abroad, please give the fitting answer that the family A. Nadjari is annihilated, killed off by the cultivated Germans, do you remember, dear Giorgos? Please pick up, Misko, the piano of my Nelli from the Sionidou family and give it to Ilias, so that he always has it with him in commemoration, he loved her so much and she loved him, too.

Almost always, when they kill, I ask myself, if God exists, and nevertheless, I have always believed in Him and I still believe, that God wants His will to be done. I’m dying happy, because I know that at this moment our Greece is free. My last words will be: Long live Greece.
Marcel Nadjari

For about four years now they have been killing the Jews … they killed Poles, Czechs, French, Hungarians, Slovaks, Dutch, Belgians, Russians und all Thess/nikis, except the 300 who are still alive today, (in) Athens, Arta, Kerkyra (Corfu), Kos and Rhodes. –
A total of around 1,400,000
The honored Greek Embassy which will receive this note is asked by a good Greek citizen called Emmanouil or Marcel Nadjari from Thess/niki, previously resident in Odos Italias №9 in Thess/niki, to send this note to the following address.
Dimitrios Athanassiou Stefanidis
Odos Krousovou №4
Thess/niki
Greece

This is my last wish. Condemned to death by the Germans because I am Jewish.
Thank you.
Nadjaris


The story with the translation of the manuscript is not completed. This 11 page (№12 in the corner — a mistake by a Museum archivist), which is difficult to read. If you are familiar with the modern Greek, any detail will benefit. Yet here after the first paragraph failed to parse date 3/11/44
Revealing Manuscript found in Auschwitz-Birkenau
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Revealing Manuscript found in Auschwitz-Birkenau

How we recovered text from manuscript found in the 80’s near the crematorium 3 in Auschwitz-Birkenau
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Published: