“Keep awake. The longer possible. Struggle against sleep. The calculation is easy. In one hour, I make 30 false papers. If I sleep one hour, 30 people will die.”
Adolfo Kaminsky often went without sleep. Sometimes for days in a row.
He was only 18 years old, but already a forger of documents for Jews in Paris during WWII. And usually for those in the most urgent situations. His resistance cell received tips of who was to be arrested for deportation to concentration camps. Then Adolfo would forge documents for these people.
It was like working on “a production line at a fate factory,” he would later tell his daughter.
“The smallest error and you send someone to prison or death. It’s a great responsibility. It’s heavy. It’s not at all a pleasure.”
But he felt a need to do the work. “I saved lives because I can’t deal with unnecessary deaths — I just can’t.”
His forged documents saved about 14,000 people.