'Terrible times are coming': the Holocaust diary that lay unread for 70 yearsBreaking News
tags: Holocaust, Renia Spiegel, Holocaust diary
Seventy years after writing her final entry, the diary of Polish teenager Renia Spiegel, who has drawn comparisons to Anne Frank for her moving account of life as a Jew during the Nazi occupation of Poland and who was shot on the streets days after her 18th birthday, appeared in English this week for the first time.
Running to almost 700 pages, Spiegel’s diary begins in January 1939, when she was 15, and ends on the last day of her life, 30 July 1942, when she was executed by German soldiers. The last lines in the journal are written by her boyfriend, Zygmunt Schwarzer, who ended it with his account of her death and that of his parents: “Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.”
Spiegel’s mother, Róża, and her younger sister, Ariana, survived the war and moved to America. In the 1950s, Schwarzer, who had survived several concentration camps, located them and gave them Renia’s diary. Neither Róża nor Ariana could bring themselves to read it and so the diary lay “dormant”, said Ariana’s daughter Alexandra Bellak, until she decided to send it for translation.
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