Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Sarah Kaminsky's Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life

Preliminary Report One: The Chase

Stay awake. For as long as possible. Fight against sleep. It's a simple calculation: in one hour I can make thirty blank documents; if I sleep for an hour, thirty people will die…

After two nights of work — interminable, painstaking work, my eye stuck to the microscope — it's tiredness that's my worst enemy. I have to hold my breath, forging papers is a meticulous task, your hand mustn't tremble at all. Truly delicate work. Most of all I dread a technical mistake, a little slip, an infinitesimal detail that might escape me. Just a momentary lapse of concentration can be fatal and the life or death of a human being hangs on every document. I check and recheck every sheet. They're perfect. But the doubt remains. I check them again. The stress has gone. But what is worse, I'm literally nodding off. I get to my feet, vigorously to wake myself up, take a few steps, slap myself several times. Then I sit down again. One hour equals thirty lives! I haven't the right to give up. I blink and screw up my eyes to clear my vision. Is it my printing that's blurred or my eyes that can't see any more in the dimness of the darkroom?