"I don't want to die!": the diary of a 15-year-old Jewish woman killed in the Nazi ghetto has been foundPictolic
The heroine of this heartbreaking story was Renia Spiegel, a 15-year-old Jewish woman originally from Poland. The girl was killed in 1942, and her story remained unknown to anyone for a long time. But now, after 76 years, Renya's relatives finally decided to publish her diary.
What was written in it by the hand of a teenage girl touches to the depths of the soul… See for yourself.
Renia Spiegel started keeping a diary in 1939, when she was 15 years old. For three years, until her death in 1942, Renia told in detail about her life, friends and relatives and described the horrors of the Nazi ghetto, where the girl was sent with her family.
In the photo – Renia's younger sister, Ariana, and her daughter Alexandra Bellak.
For a long time, the diary of a Jewish woman killed in the ghetto was kept by her relatives. Ariana and her mother did not dare to read Renia's notes, so the notebook lay untouched for a long time in the family archives.
In total, there are 700 pages written in Renya's diary. In 2018, the family of the deceased girl translated her notes into English and published them as a book demonstrating the horrors of the Holocaust.
The diary made a real sensation among readers. Thanks to him, you can look at the horrors of war through the eyes of an ordinary teenager who, by the will of fate, found himself in the center of that nightmare. Renya's story is already being compared to the diary of Anne Frank.
Ariana and Renia Spiegel lived with their parents in Skole, Poland (later Ukraine). Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, she left for Przemysl, in the south of the country, to visit her grandparents. Her mother and Ariana stayed in Warsaw.
Soon the Nazis occupied Lviv and Przemysl. Jews were forced to wear special armbands, rumors spread that a ghetto would be created. Pogroms began. Renya, her family, as well as another 20 thousand Jews, were resettled in the ghetto, the Nazis banned any contact with the outside world.
In her diary, Renia describes the nightmarish months in the ghetto, but she also had joyful moments, for example, evenings in the company of her beloved – Sigmund.
A group of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto
In 1942, the hard, but measured life ended. The Nazis issued an ultimatum to the residents of the ghetto, demanding payment "for providing protection". Those who refused to pay were sent to concentration camps.
In her notes, Renia talks about how in the pre-war years she dreamed of becoming an actress, how she was afraid of being sent to a camp, about the occupation and her own fear of death. There is an entry in the diary that Renia met a boy, Sigmund S., who became her first and only love. It was thanks to him that the girl's diary was preserved.
The first entry in the diary is from January 1939, when Renia turned 15, and the last one is dated July 30, 1942, on this day the girl was killed.
In her notes, Renia pays much attention to the novel with Sigmund. Their feelings are gradually revealed, and they come closer, despite all the horrors of wartime.
On June 20, 1941, a young girl described their first kiss. Later, the following note appeared in the diary:
A few days later, the following entry appeared in the diary:
However, Sigmund survived. He went through the nightmare of Auschwitz and got into the program with Dr. Mengele. After the war, he flew to New York, where he began a new life.
Renia's mother Rosa and her sister Ariana were also able to survive that nightmare. Despite the fact that they converted to Catholicism and lived under false names, Sigmund managed to find them in the 50s. He gave them Renia's diary, but the women could not find the strength to open it and read it.
Until 2012, it lay untouched in a bank safe. This continued until Ariana's daughter Alexandra caught fire with the idea of publishing Renia's recordings. She gave the diary to a Polish student for translation. In 2014, he finished his work, in 2016, the records were published. Then, on the basis of the girl's recordings, a film was made and a plot was written for a theatrical production.
Recently, Renya's diary was published for the first time in an English translation. In the preface, Robin Shulman writes the following: