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Ray Zager

December 30, 1924 – November 6, 2012

Raymond Lee Zager was born in Los Angeles in 1924. Lawyer, author & diarist. In the 71st Infantry he was the first soldier to break down the gates of the concentration camp Gunskirchen Lager in 1945. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Helen, daughter Lynnanne, son Paul, and step-children; Patsy, Larry & Michael, grandchildren; David, Sam Gray, Claire, Oliver, Allison, Gregory, Amanda & daughter in-laws, Denise, Irene & Ann, son in law Richard & brother Bud.

Ray Zager's Biography

Ray Zager is a retired lawyer and a devoted diarist. He has been teaching diary writing since the 1970's in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and the University of California.

He has been collecting diary books and associated materials since 1976. His collecting has taken him to England, France, Holland, Israel and many parts of the United States.

In 1981, while in England he found and met Opal Whiteley, the famous child diarist of Oregon lumber camp trails. From there he visited Pepys Library at Magdalane College, Cambridge and met with the coeditor of the 1960 edition of the Pepys Diaries, Prof. Robert Latham. Then on to Kilkaldy, Scotland, to see the grave site statue of Pet Marjory Fleming (sitting on chair with her diary book on lap and pen in hand; yet all in stone). Mr EJC West, secretary of Kilvert Society, came to life at Ross on Wye. He calls himself the "dog's Body" as he has so many jobs to do for this special diary society.

Anne Frank called from Amsterdam and with Helen, his spouse, they went to see the Annex. They also found her life-like at the Wax Museum, pen, ink well, and journal at hand and piercing eyes saying, "I'm leaving words for you and all others." A few years later while in Isreal at the Ghetto Fighters Museum he found the published diary of Yitskhok Rudashevsk. A boy of 12 within a ghetto in Lithuania, recorded the invasion of the German army, the psychological torture, physical brutal force, and killing of all Jews except one young woman who survived.

He has written for the Diarist's Journal, an international magazine on diary writing, for the past twenty years and continues to do so.

Manuscript diaries that he has viewed and read are: Raplh Waldo Emerson at Houghton Library at Harvard, Anais Nin at UCLA special collections, Virginia Woolf at New York Public Library (Berg Collection), and Margery Fleming at the National Library of Scotland.

His own diary writing consists of 90 volumes. Most of these have come after 1976.