Rywka's Diary

Rywka's Diary

The Writings of A Jewish Girl From the Lodz Ghetto, Found at Auschwitz in 1945 and Published Seventy Years Later

Book - 2015
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Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2015]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780062389688
Branch Call Number: 940.5318 LIPSZYC
Characteristics: xii, 227 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 24 cm


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May 26, 2018

This diary, written by a 14 year old Jewish girl in the Lodz ghetto in Poland, was found nearby a crematorium in Auschwitz, Poland, but only recently has been translated into English. The diary has short daily entries from October 1943 to April 1944 and used 100 pages of a notebook. The writer was living with her two cousins as she had lost both parents and 2 siblings. Her diary is filled with despair of her situation as each diary entry focuses more on her personal feelings than on describing the daily life in a ghetto. There are glimpses into some of her activities as she describes her joy in attending Jewish classes, her necessary attendance at a clothing workshop where she was taught sewing skills, standing in line in the evening for 2 hours to get provisions, remembrances of past Jewish celebrations with her family compared to her present celebrations, and bouts with colds and high temperatures. Among these descriptions, she also briefly mentions the round up of male adults for deportation and, if they failed to report, how their children were held as hostages; how those men's ration cards were blocked so they were unable to get food unless others helped them; how hungry people become so desperate for food they will steal food from others' meager rations. For me, what was interesting about this book, was the commentary included at the end of the diary with pictures of the diarist's two cousins who outlived the holocaust and raised large families in Israel. These 2 women, in interviews, provided more information about happened when they and the diarist were deported. Also interesting was the summary of the research process that was undertaken over a number of years to find out what happened to the diarist as there was conflicting evidence to the information that the cousins had given that their cousin had died in Auschwitz. The diary entries are very readable. I would have preferred more description of daily life in the ghetto, but then her purpose for writing was not to leave a historical record, but to help her live through the difficult times. Her strong faith seems to be her crutch and she never regrets her heritage but revels in it.


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