Dutch writer and poet
Died when: 95 years 244 days (1148 months)
Star Sign: Virgo
Abel Jacob Herzberg (17 September 1893 – 19 May 1989) was a Dutch Jewish lawyer and writer, whose parents were Russian Jews who had come to the Netherlands from Lithuania. Herzberg was trained as a lawyer and began a legal practice in Amsterdam, and became known as a legal scholar also. He was a Zionist from an early age, and around the time of the outbreak of World War II he attempted to emigrate with his family to Palestine. During the war he remained active in Jewish organizations until he was interned, with his wife, in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where his legal background and status as a legal scholar (which made him desirable to the Nazis in a possible exchange for Germans abroad) earned him a seat on a prisoners' court. After their captors moved them from Bergen-Belsen, he and his wife were later liberated by the Soviets and made it back to the Netherlands, where they were reunited also with their children. He continued his legal practice in Amsterdam, though he traveled to Palestine and was offered an administrative position in newly-founded Israel. Herzberg had written a play before the war, and in Bergen-Belsen he began keeping a diary. After the war he began a career as a writer, his first publication, Amor fati, being a collection of essays on life in Bergen-Belsen. In 1950, he published a history of the persecution of the Jews as well as his diary of the camp; he is one of the earliest historians of the Holocaust. His published works include historical texts, journalism, diaries and autobiography, novellas, and plays.