70 years ago, she was brutally murdered by the Nazis. Now her diary is published

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70 years ago, she was brutally murdered by the Nazis. Now her diary is published

For over 70 years, a secret Holocaust diary of Polish-Jewish teenage girl Reniya Spiegel was in the vault of a bank in New York.

Reni was killed by the Nazis just when she came of age in 1942, and her story was too painful for her surviving sister and mother to read.

The book “Renia's Diary: A Young Girl's Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust” (“Reni's Diary: The Life of a Young Girl in the Shadow of the Holocaust”) will be published by her family. And they are already comparing it to Anne Frank's diary for clarity and writing skills, CNN reports.

700-page diary

The Penguin Books publisher describes the book as “an extraordinary testimony to the horrors of war and life that exists even in the darkest times,” and will be published on September 19.

The girl lived in the city of Przemysl in southeast Poland, which had been under Soviet occupation since 1939 until Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union two years later.

The diary is almost 700 pages long and begins in January 1939, when Reni was 15 years old. It chronicles this escape from the bombing of her hometown, the disappearance of other Jewish families and the creation of a ghetto.

Renia and her sister Elizabeth (who was born Ariana) are separated from their mother, who was on the German side during the war. Almost every diary entry ends with “God and Bulus Will Save Me,” with Renia using her nickname for her mother.

As an inspired poet, Renia filled the diary with dozens of poems, as well as stories about her first love, the boy Zygmunt Schwarzer. The two first kissed for several hours before the Nazis arrived in Przemysl.

Killed at age 18

Renia was killed in July 1942 at the age of 18 after the Nazis discovered she was hiding in the attic.

She left the diary to her boyfriend, who wrote the terrible last sentences in the diary: “Three shots! Three lives lost! All I hear are shots, shots!”

Schwarzer kept a diary with the others, and was subsequently deported to Auschwitz. He survived and moved to the United States and in 1950 managed to return the diary to Reni's sister Elizabeth and mother Różi, who lived in New York. Elizabeth couldn't read it, so she decided to store it in the bank vault. It was not until 2012 that her daughter Alexandra Bellak managed to get the diary translated into English so that it could be read by people around the world.

“I was curious about my past and heritage, and especially that woman I was named after, because my middle name is Renata, and thanks to my mother, I don't speak Polish. And she never read it because it was too painful,” she said is Alexandra talking to CNN.

It was too painful for her mother to read the diary

When she first read the diary, her heart broke.

“I realized her depth and maturity and refined writing and poetry, and with the rise of all -isms – anti-Semitism, populism and nationalism – my mother and I saw the need to bring the diary to life,” Alexandra says, adding that her 87-year-old her mother never read the whole diary because it was too painful for her.

“She only read the excerpts that were printed in the Smithsonian,” Alexandra explains.

He says people's initial reactions were great: “Both young and old praised extraordinary writing, a longing for a normal life and a mother.”

Here are some excerpts from the book:

August 15, 1939

“I haven't talked to you in a while. The end of the school year is long over, my summer holidays are over, and I haven't talked to you. I was with my aunt in the countryside, I was in Warsaw, I saw my mom and now I'm back. But you know nothing about it.

You were lying here, left alone with your thoughts, you don't even know we have a secret mobilization, you don't know that the Russians signed a pact with the Germans. You don't know that people make supplies, that everyone is awake and waiting for war. “

June 7, 1942

“Everywhere I look, I see bloodshed. Terrible pogroms. Killing. Almighty God, humble before You, help us, save us! Lord, let us live, I beg you, I want to live! I have experienced so little in my life. I do not want to This is so stupid, insignificant, unimportant, so small I am worried today because I am ugly and tomorrow I can stop thinking forever.

Think, tomorrow we may not be there

Cold steel knife

It will slide among us, you know

But today there is still time to live

Tomorrow the sun might disappear

Rifle bullets can crack and puncture

And the moans – the sidewalks are flooded

blood, dirty, smelly slag


You're alive today

There is still time to survive

Let's mix our blood

While the song is still moving forward

A song of wild and furious flooding

You bring from the living dead

Listen, my every muscle is trembling

My body longs for your closeness

It was supposed to be a choking game, no

Enough of eternity for all the kisses. “

July 15, 1942

“Remember this day, remember it well. You will talk for generations to come. Today, at 8 o'clock, we are locked in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separate from me, and I am separate from the world.”

70 years ago, she was brutally murdered by the Nazis. Now her diary is published

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