Salvaged Pages

Salvaged Pages: Young Writers` Diaries of the Holocaust

Collected and edited by Alexandra Zapruder
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 512
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  • Book Info
    Salvaged Pages
    Book Description:

    This moving book presents diaries written by Jewish children and young adults during the Holocaust, the first comprehensive collection of such writings. The diarists ranged in age from twelve to twenty-two; some survived the Holocaust, but most perished. Taken together, their accounts of daily events and their often unexpected thoughts, ideas, and feelings serve to deepen and complicate our understanding of life during this dark time in European history.The volume begins with a discussion of Anne Frank's diary and offers a new framework for thinking about the diaries young people produced in this time of extreme crisis. Alexandra Zapruder assesses the value of these literary fragments as part of the historical record of the Holocaust and provides informative introductions about when and where each diary was written; the diarist's biographical, religious, cultural, and economic circumstances; the fate of the diarist; the circumstances of the diary's discovery. Finally she offers a view of the diary's significance. An appendix gives details about the known diaries written by young people during this period, more than fifty-five in all. A second appendix provides a study of related materials, such as rewritten and reconstructed diaries, letters, diary-memoirs, and texts by non-Jewish young victims of the war and Nazism.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12741-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Editor’s Note (pp. xv-xx)
  5. Introduction (pp. 1-12)

    During the Holocaust, from one end of Europe to the other, from before the outbreak of war until the liberation, young people kept journals and diaries. They wrote in leather or clothbound books, or in albums embossed in gold that had been received as gifts for birthdays and holidays; they carried their journals with them from their homes to hiding places, from transit camps to ghettos. When times grew difficult, they smuggled and stole scraps of paper, found pencil stubs and worn ink pens; they scribbled by carbide lamp or candlelight in school notebooks, address books, calendars, and ledgers, on...

  6. 1 Klaus Langer ESSEN, GERMANY (pp. 13-36)

    Klaus (later Jacob) Langer was born on April 12, 1924, in the city of Gleiwitz, in Upper Silesia, which at that time was part of Germany. His father, Erich, had also been born in Gleiwitz; his mother, Rose, was born in Odessa and emigrated to Germany in 1912, where she and Erich Langer married in 1922. Klaus’s grandmother, Mina, joined the family in 1927, when he was three years old. After successive moves from Gleiwitz to Wiesbaden, then to a small town near Gelsenkirchen, the family settled in Essen in 1936.¹

    Klaus began his diary in his native German shortly...

  7. 2 Elisabeth Kaufmann PARIS, FRANCE (pp. 37-62)

    Elisabeth Kaufmann (later Elizabeth Koenig) began writing in her diary in her native German in February 1940 in France, just before her sixteenth birthday. She and her family had arrived in France one and a half years earlier as one of the thousands of refugee families fleeing Austria after its annexation by the Germans in March 1938. Born to a well-established family on March 7, 1924, Elisabeth spent her early childhood years in Vienna with her parents and her older brother, Peter. Her family was cultured, sophisticated, and well read. Her father held a doctoral degree in international relations and...

  8. 3 Peter Feigl FRANCE (pp. 63-89)

    Peter Feigl was born Klaus Peter Feigl on March 1, 1929, in Berlin, Germany. His father, Ernst Feigl, an Austrian national, was a mechanical engineer working in Berlin; his mother, Agnes (née Bornstein), stayed at home to raise their young son. Ernst and his family were fully integrated members of middle-class Austrian society. He had served in the Austrian navy during World War I, and his family had lived in Austria for many generations. The family was well off, with servants in the house, a Mercedes automobile, and summer vacations to the North Sea or Switzerland. Like many assimilated Central...

  9. 4 Moshe Flinker BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (pp. 90-121)

    Moshe Ze’ev Flinker was born in The Hague on October 9, 1926. There were five daughters and two sons in the family; Moshe was somewhere in the middle, but the birth dates and names of all the children are not made clear in the diary. Moshe’s father, Noah Eliezer Flinker, was originally from Poland and had become a wealthy businessman in Holland. Apart from this rather scant information, details of the family history and background remain obscure.¹

    After the German invasion and occupation of Holland in May 1940, the Flinkers remained in The Hague, subjected to an increasing series of...

  10. 5 Otto Wolf OLOMOUC, CZECHOSLOVAKIA (pp. 122-159)

    Otto Wolf was born on June 5, 1927, in Mohelnice, Moravia, the youngest child of Berthold and Růžena Wolf. He had two older siblings, Felicitas (nicknamed Lici or Licka), born in Lipník nad Bečvou on March 27, 1920, and Kurt, also born in Lipník, on February 13, 1915. Berthold and Růžena, married on July 20, 1913, instilled in their children a strong sense of their Jewish identity, but their daughter Felicitas recalled that before the war they did not rigorously observe the Jewish holidays, rituals, and laws, nor did they keep kosher at home. Indeed, like many Czech Jews of...

  11. 6 Petr Ginz and Eva Ginzová TEREZÍN GHETTO (pp. 160-189)

    Petr Ginz was born on February 1, 1928, in Prague, the first child of Otto Ginz and Maria Ginzová (née Dolanský). Two years and three weeks later, on February 21, 1930, his younger sister Eva came into the world. Although Maria had been raised in a Catholic family (and had left the church in her twenties, declaring herself an atheist), she and her husband maintained a liberal but traditional Jewish home, keeping kosher, attending synagogue on major holidays, celebrating Petr’s bar mitzvah, and sending their children to a progressive Jewish school. Part of a closeknit family, the Ginzes spent Christmas...

  12. 7 Yitskhok Rudashevski VILNA GHETTO (pp. 190-225)

    Yitskhok Rudashevski was born in Vilna (Vilnius), Lithuania, on December 10, 1927. His father, Elihu, was a typesetter for theVilner Tog,the daily Yiddish newspaper, and his mother, Rose, originally from Kishinev in Bessarabia, was a seamstress. He was an only child, living together with his parents and his maternal grandmother. Yitskhok went to school in Vilna, having completed his elementary education and one year of high school at the city’s well-respected Realgymnasium before his studies were interrupted by the German invasion. One of the few surviving photographs of him from this period shows him standing on a busy...

  13. 8 Anonymous Girl LÓDŹ GHETTO (pp. 226-242)

    “There is no justice in the world, not to mention in the ghetto.” So begins the diary of a young girl writing in the Łódź ghetto in late February and March of 1942. Her identity is unknown. The only clue as to her first name is a note copied into the diary addressed to her and her sister that begins “Dear Esterka and Minia,” but nowhere else is there any hint about which name belonged to the diary’s author. She did, however, introduce the members of her family: her father, who worked as a painter in the construction division of...

  14. 9 Miriam Korber TRANSNISTRIA (pp. 243-270)

    Miriam Korber (later Miriam Bercovici) was born to Leon and Klara Korber in 1923 in the small town of Câmpulung-Moldovenesc, in the southern part of the Romanian province of Bukovina. Her paternal grandparents, Abraham Mendel and Toni Korber, lived in the same town. Her grandfather and her father repaired windows and roofs for a living, and in 1927, Leon Korber opened a glass shop in Câmpulung. That same year, Miriam’s younger sister Sylvia (called Sisi in the diary) was born.¹ Miriam’s diary is unique among those in this collection, for although its content echoes other diaries written in ghettos and...

  15. 10 Dawid Rubinowicz KRAJNO, POLAND (pp. 271-300)

    The first of Dawid Rubinowicz’s five notebooks opens on March 21, 1940, seven months after the German invasion and occupation of Poland. Born in the Polish city of Kielce on July 27, 1927, Dawid and his family, including his parents Josek and Tauba, younger brother Herszel, and younger sister Malka, had moved to the provincial village of Krajno, where they were living at the time of the German attack on Poland in September 1939. Dawid’s family was poor, his father eking out a living as a dairy farmer with a single cow and a wagon. To bolster the family’s meager...

  16. 11 Elsa Binder STANISŁAWÓW, POLAND (pp. 301-328)

    In a black-and-white group photograph taken in Stanisławów, Poland, in the late 1930s, seventeen-year-old Elsa Binder sits near the middle of the second row, surrounded by the members of the left-oriented Zionist youth group Hashomer Hazair. Dressed in the organization’s uniform, with a kerchief tied around her neck, Eliszewa (as she was called in the youth group) appears slight of form, her short dark hair framing her face and pulled to one side, with deep-set eyes and a shy halfsmile on her face. Nearby on either side are her friends and acquaintances, many of whom would later be called by...

  17. 12 Ilya Gerber KOVNO GHETTO (pp. 329-360)

    Little is known about Ilya Gerber apart from what can be determined from the only extant notebook of his diary and a few recollections from a former fellow student. Ilya, apparently the younger of two children, was born on July 23, 1924, in Kovno, which was at that time the capital of Lithuania. His father, Boris (Berl) Gerber, was a well-known music teacher and conductor; his mother, by contrast, is not mentioned in the diary and her name and background are unknown. The diarist indicated that his sister, Khaye, was married to a man named Shloyme, but when and where...

  18. 13 Anonymous Boy ŁÓDŹ GHETTO (pp. 361-394)

    If there is one diary that captures most vividly the urgent, desperate race for survival that so many Jews shared in the waning years of the war, it is that of an anonymous boy writing in the Łódź ghetto in the spring and summer of 1944. The notes, scribbled in the endpages and margins of a French book titledLes Vrais riches[The Truly Rich] by François Coppée, were written in Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, and English. The book seems to have had at least one previous owner, for on the first page there is an affectionate inscription in French, dated...

  19. 14 Alice Ehrmann TEREZÍN GHETTO (pp. 395-424)

    Alice Ehrmann (later Alisa Shek) was born on May 5, 1927, the second daughter of an upper-middle-class family in Prague. Her father, Rudolf Ehrmann, was an assimilated Czech Jew, and an architect by profession. Pavla Ehrmann, Alice’s mother, had been born into a Catholic family in Vienna, but after her marriage she did not practice any religion. Alice and her sister, Ruth (almost three years her senior), did not have a Jewish upbringing, nor did they attend religious school, but she recalled many years later that she “always knew [she] was Jewish.” She attended a Czech primary school in Prague...

  20. Appendix I: YOUNG DIARISTS OF THE HOLOCAUST (pp. 425-443)
  21. Appendix II: AT THE MARGINS (pp. 444-450)
  22. Notes (pp. 451-470)
  23. Sources and Translators (pp. 471-472)
  24. Index (pp. 473-481)

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