The sixth transport of French Jews bound for the Nazi death camps of occupied Poland left France on 17 July 1942. On board were craftsmen, jewellers, cabinet-makers, tanners and 200 people from Dijon. Among them was a 39-year-old novelist, Irène Némirovsky, born in Kiev and driven into exile in France by the Russian Revolution. Within six weeks she was dead of the typhus epidemic that swept through Auschwitz that summer.
Not long before the French police came to arrest her in the village of Issy-l'Evêque in Burgundy, where Némirovsky, her husband Michel Epstein and her two daughters had taken refuge, she had given her papers, manuscripts and notebooks to her publisher in Paris, Albin Michel, for safekeeping. What