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Old November 23rd, 2015, 01:29 PM   #1

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A place to report news on historical documents either newly released or recently found. If we can keep it to a simple reporting format, it should make the thread easy for readers to use as a source. If anyone wants to discuss a document/find further or seek opinion then it might be best to copy a report over into a new thread in an appropriate section.

I'll make a start. Thanks.

Holocaust documents trove unearthed in Budapest apartment.

"More than 6,000 historically valuable documents, long thought destroyed during the war, found hidden in wall cavity by couple renovating apartment."

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Holocaust documents trove unearthed in Budapest apartment | World news | The Guardian
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Old January 28th, 2016, 07:07 AM   #2

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The handwritten plea for clemency from Adolf Eichmann for his role in the Holocaust, dated two days before he was executed, was released yesterday, along with other documents pertaining to the trial.

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Some excerpts in English -

"There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders,"

"I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty,"

"I am not able to recognise the court’s ruling as just, and I ask, Your Honour Mr President, to exercise your right to grant pardons, and order that the death penalty not be carried out."

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Old January 28th, 2016, 07:21 AM   #3

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Please feel free to post anything you might come across.
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Old February 17th, 2016, 01:57 AM   #4

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Ancient Greek manuscripts reveal life lessons from the Roman empire.

"Newly translated textbooks from the second and sixth centuries aimed at language learners also provide pointers on shopping, bathing, dining and how to deal with drunk relatives."

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A medieval copy of the original manuscript.

Ancient Greek manuscripts reveal life lessons from the Roman empire | Books | The Guardian

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Old February 17th, 2016, 02:26 AM   #5

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Mystery of 1870 letter flown out of besieged Paris by balloon.

"Australian National Archives staff keen to discover fate of man who wrote to his mother in Normandy during Franco-Prussian war."

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"A letter from a man to his mother that was flown out of Paris by hot-air balloon during the Prussian siege in 1870 has turned up in Australia’s National Archives, where staff are keen to discover the family’s fate."

"Germans surrounded Paris for more than four months that year during the Franco-Prussian war. Balloon mail was the only way that communications from Paris could reach the rest of France. Dozens of flights were made, mostly at night, and hundreds of thousands of letters delivered."

Mystery of 1870 letter flown out of besieged Paris by balloon | Australia news | The Guardian
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Old February 17th, 2016, 02:38 AM   #6

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I could contribute with a bit of translation effort. In Italy the research about ancient documents is always alive due to the immense treasure of very ancient archives kept by religious orders.

For example recent news [February 16th, yesterday] say that a manuscript with the "Exultet" has been just recovered. A particularity of the production of these kinds of manuscripts in South Italy is that the amanuensis didn't limit his work to copy the text, he made a real artwork, representing what the text said. About the Exultet, as for is known, this happened only in Southern Italy.

Three of the liturgical rolls preserved at Gaeta are from X-XI century [the Paris National Library has bought the Exultet which was at Fondi].

Source:

Da Gaeta a Roma per il restauro un antico manoscritto liturgico

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Old February 17th, 2016, 09:17 AM   #7

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That's excellent Luke. Thanks for putting it up.
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Old March 2nd, 2016, 07:42 AM   #8

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October 2015 release of historical MI5 files

"MI5 has released a further batch of 103 historical files. These are now available to view alongside Cabinet Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office files at The National Archives, and bring the total number of MI5 files held there to 5,449."

"Most of the newly released files concern Cold War investigations in the 1950s, notably those focused on the Cambridge Five spy ring. Included are details of MI5’s search for Soviet agent HOMER which, following a project VENONA breakthrough, identified Foreign Office diplomat Donald Maclean. Maclean had been passing information on the British negotiating position for talks between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. The files also reveal how surveillance of Maclean spotted him meeting Guy Burgess shortly before the pair fled to Russia. They show that Burgess previously worked with agents on behalf of MI5 during World War II, and note some of his vices."

https://www.mi5.gov.uk/october-2015-....UPn1fJFd.dpuf

Related National Archive site and podcast discussion on the file release -

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a...s-and-maclean/

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Old March 16th, 2016, 05:06 AM   #9

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The Book Of Sir Thomas More. c1604.

The last surviving play script handwritten by Shakespeare is to be released online by the British Library. The manuscript is one of 300 newly digitised items the Library will be releasing online.

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Sir Thomas More, the dramatized biographical play of events in the life of the Lord Chancellor and catholic martyr, is considered to have been written c1600 by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle, but it not that unusually passed through a few hands (was reworked) on its way to production. Hands that included Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker and William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's contribution creates a scene in the middle of the play where Sir Thomas, then one of the Sheriff's of London, is challenging anti-immigration rioters who are baying for the refugees (Protestant Huguenot's in Shakespeare's mind?) to be banished, and reminds the rioters that if they were exiled, they would become vulnerable, wretched too.

Sir Thomas addresses them -

"You'll put down strangers, kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses, and lead the majesty of law in Lyam, to slip him like a hound.

Alas, alas! Say now the King, as he is clement if the offender mourn, should so much come too short of your great trespass as but to banish you, whither would you go? What country, by the nature of your error, should give you harbour?

Go to France or Flanders, to any German province, Spain or Portugal, nay anywhere that not adheres to England. Why, you must needs be strangers."

(I may have added slightly to the number of re-writes - apologies.)

The original manuscript will be going on show at the British Library and I have the feeling also in Washington D.C at some point, but I'm a little vague on that.

The releases will be made available on the following website -

Discovering Literature: Shakespeare - The British Library

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Old April 6th, 2016, 11:57 AM   #10

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Battle of the Somme. 1916. Film Documentary. Listed on UNESCO's "Memory of the World" records.

Perhaps the worlds first war documentary.

It seemed an excellent idea. Send two film makers over and have them document the 'big push' for everyone to watch in the cinema. This is what we are fighting for, to give the old Bosch a bloody nose, and everyone home for Christmas. It would be such a shame to miss it. Fresh young cheery lads, larking about, waving for the camera and the folks back home. Just what was needed. Near 20,000 were dead and another 57,000 lay wounded in the first 24 hours. 141 days later, there were a million casualties from both sides.

Upon release, 20 million watched the film documentary that was produced, probably half the population, hoping for a glimpse of family or friends on the screen. And it seared an image into the national consciousness so powerfully that it is carried today in the minds eye of the average 'man in the street', 100 years later, as if carried in our very genes, passing from generation to generation.

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Of course, it was always intended to be a piece of propaganda, so along with the mind numbing destruction (and some of it staged), we see a particularly good document of the quality of the equipment, techniques, uniforms, treatment of the wounded that was prevalent at the time. An intention was to show just how modern and well equipped the chaps were after all.

The film has been cleaned up, re-mastered (not for the first time) and is being released by 126 organisations in the UK and 86 overseas this year, being shown in universities, libraries, town and village halls, churches and museums, as well as 82 British embassies, and museums in the Republic of Ireland and Germany.

It is also to be given full screenings at selected cinemas complete with orchestra.

Last edited by Jim Casy; April 6th, 2016 at 01:12 PM.
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