Norwegian Diplomats and the Samuel-b frgs from Qumran that Disappeared

From Weston W. Fields, Dead Sea Scrolls : A Full History: Volume One, 1947–1960 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 238–39:

WWF [Weston W. Fields]: Do you think souvenirs were kept by the team members?

JS [John Strugnell]: That is just so foreign to the nature of scholarship. You know, when you say souvenirs or the like, that becomes unpardonable. You could sort of snip off the margin of a manuscript, but it just doesn’t ring true to me. […] [if you say that], you just don’t understand the nature of scholarship.

WWF: Right …. Well, do you have any suspicions about who ended up [with] … Samuelb [fragments that] disappeared?

JS: It was fairly clear to me, because I was the person who discovered they were missing. I discovered it coming back after lunch. I think I would have noticed them if they hadn’t been there before lunch. When coming back after lunch, I noticed they were missing, and I called for Yusef Saad, and I told him they were missing. And he said, “I think I know what’s happened …. We were … showing around a group of diplomats.” And the question was, [would] there [be] any way that we could diplomatically find out and tell these people that we knew. There was no way of doing it. And who [were] these diplomats … ? I believe they were Scandinavian, Norwegian, probably what there was mainly in this party of diplomats. But we had decent photographs. It didn’t matter. I mean, it would be nice for a museum to have the Samuelb [fragments], but we’ve got the pictures on the wall beside you. That’s better than the original.

WWF: …. But somewhere somebody has that in a private collection.

JS: Well, sure …. So, I mean, sure, it’s a sad thing that we lost it, and we installed better locks that same afternoon, but … fortunately we had … [photographs of] both the Daniel manuscript and the Samuel manuscript. We got perfect pictures …. The funny thing is—is it funny or not?—that they have never appeared on the market or that—

WWF: I think that’s an indication that whoever has it ….

JS: …. is a thief.

WWF: Yes, and doesn’t need money.

JS: Yes …. I mean, I’m quite sure it was stolen, as you say, as a souvenir or something like this. It’s not someone who needed it to sell it to a dealer in Zurich.

WWF: No, and it may have traded hands several times since then because a lot of these things are done very secretly under the table and dealer to dealer or collector to collector.

JS: Well, it’s usually rich man to rich man.

WWF: Yes, [rich] collector to collector. And someday it will turn up. Someday … it will be far enough down the road that some family will say, “Here, we have this.”

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