RYWKA'S DIARY by Rywka Lipszyc


The Writings of a Jewish Girl from the Lodz Ghetto
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During the dark days of the Holocaust, a bright 14-year-old girl of the Lodz ghetto committed her deepest feelings to a diary. Now that important diary is published.

Lipszyc’s journal was found at the end of World War II near an Auschwitz crematorium by a Russian army doctor who left it to her daughter, who passed it on to the Jewish social service organization that sponsored its translation and publication. But the author did not perish at Auschwitz. Unlike all her immediate family, she survived the war, her destiny after it unknown. Her adolescent diary begins during the Jewish New Year in the fall of 1943 and ends just after Passover the following spring. The teenager, whose parents had already perished, writes of her beloved ghetto mentor, Surcia. Lipszyc and her siblings lived with young cousins in a household headed by a girl a few years older. Her brother and sister were deported by the Nazis in a roundup of Jews deemed useless. Throughout the diary, hope and faith yield to misery and despair. Hours of factory work and attempts at sewing lessons precede inevitable declines in health and spirit. It was a cold winter in the Lodz ghetto. Rations were meager, and food was stolen. People slowly starved to death. Awaiting necessary identification cards, missing daily portions of soup, wondering who stole precious marmalade, and counting the latest deaths, Lipszyc wrote her poetry and reflections: “What’s going to happen tomorrow, we don’t know!... / Oh, God! Help us at last!” The brief diary is supported by contributions of valuable essays.

It is well-known that many diaries were written during the Holocaust. Most, like their authors, were lost. Only a few, like Lipszyc’s, survived. Her ultimate fate may be unknown, but her journal of torment is a testament to the survival of the human spirit in the face of evil.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-06-238968-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2015


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