Survivor Who Hated the Spotlight

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tags: Warsaw Ghetto, Nazi, Mary Berg



Mary Berg, a Polish Jewish teenager who wrote one of the earliest firsthand accounts of the Nazi genocide to be published in English, has long been something of a mystery in the annals of Holocaust literature.

Her diary recounting her experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto, serialized in American newspapers in 1944 and released as a book in 1945, won wide praise and turned the author, who had escaped to the United States in March 1944 at the age of 19, into a prominent campaigner on behalf of Hitler’s Jewish victims. But by the early 1950s, the book, “Warsaw Ghetto,” had fallen out of print, and she disappeared from public view, refusing to speak with researchers and sometimes denying that she had written the diary at all.

Now a trove of Ms. Berg’s albums and scrapbooks has surfaced, promising to shed light on the enigmatic life of a woman sometimes described as an Anne Frank before Anne Frank. The material had been set to be sold at Doyle New York, the Manhattan auction house, on Nov. 24, but on Monday afternoon, Doyle canceled the auction after relatives, contacted by a reporter from The New York Times, inquired about the sale.




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