Most people will know Anne Frank’s diary , but of course Anne wasn’t the only person who kept a diary during those dark, uncertain days. Below are some excerpts from random diaries of citizens and also soldiers from both sides of the divide.
Starting off with a bit of Anne Frank’s Diary.
- “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more”
– July 15, 1944
Michihiko Hachiya, Hiroshima Resident
August 6, 1945
“We started out, but after 20 or 30 steps I had to stop. My breath became short, my heart pounded, and my legs gave way under me. An overpowering thirst seized me and I begged Yaeko-san to find me some water. But there was no water to be found. After a little my strength somewhat returned and we were able to go on.
I was still naked, and although I did not feel the least bit of shame, I was disturbed to realize that modesty had deserted me . . . Our progress towards the hospital was interminably slow, until finally, my legs, stiff from drying blood, refused to carry me farther. The strength, even the will, to go on deserted me, so I told my wife, who was almost as badly hurt as I, to go on alone. This she objected to, but there was no choice. She had to go ahead and try to find someone to come back for me.”
Wilhelm Hoffman, German Soldier
July 29, 1942
“The company commander says the Russian troops are completely broken, and cannot hold out any longer. To reach the Volga and take Stalingrad is not so difficult for us. The Fuhrer knows where the Russians’ weak point is. Victory is not far away.”
Hayashi Ichizo, Japanese Kamikaze Pilot
March 21, 1945
“To be honest, I cannot say that the wish to die for the emperor is genuine, coming from my heart. However, it is decided for me that I die for the emperor. I shall not be afraid of the moment of my death. But I am afraid of how the fear of death will perturb my life . . .
Even for a short life, there are many memories. For someone who had a good life, it is very difficult to part with it. But I reached a point of no return. I must plunge into an enemy vessel. As the preparation for the takeoff nears, I feel a heavy pressure on me. I don’t think I can stare at death . . . I tried my best to escape in vain. So, now that I don’t have a choice, I must go valiantly.”
George Orwell, Resident Of London
September 15, 1940
“This morning, for the first time, saw an aeroplane shot down. It fell slowly out of the clouds, nose foremost, just like a snipe that has been shot high overhead. Terrific jubilation among the people watching, punctuated every now and then by the question, “Are you sure it’s German?” So puzzling are the directions given, and so many the types of aeroplane, that no one even knows which are German planes and which are our own. My only test is that if a bomber is seen over London it must be a German, whereas a fighter is likelier to be ours.”
Dorothy May Brooks,Citizen
“June 27th Mrs Jocelyn called and asked if I would have an evacuee. I agreed.
June 30th My Dad went to hospital to visit 2 welsh boys home from Dunkirk.
July 4th My little evacuee arrived. Boy of 5 years called Peter Bowles.
July 6th Dad brought the 2 wounded Welsh boys for tea.”
Charles F. Bruns.Army 3rd Divison, 10th Combat.
Oct 26, 1942 – Monday
“We are to find out where we are going to night. We had to carry some secrete maps up today. While we were carrying the maps up, one fell open and we saw the name of Morocco. Monday night our Officers told us we were going to Casablanca. That is a town in Morocco, Africa. Nobody knows whether the French troops there are friendly or not. The sea has been fairly rough today and no excitement occurred.”
Zygmunt Klukowski, Polish Doctor
October 21, 1942
“From early morning until late at night we witnessed indescribable events. Armed SS soldiers, gendarmes, and “blue police” ran through the city looking for Jews. Jews were assembled in the marketplace. The Jews were taken from their houses, barns, cellars, attics, and other hiding places. Pistol and gun shots were heard throughout the entire day. Sometimes hand grenades were thrown into the cellars. Jews were beaten and kicked; it made no difference whether they were men, women, or small children.
All Jews will be shot. Between 400 and 500 have been killed. Poles were forced to begin digging graves in the Jewish cemetery. From information I received approximately 2,000 people are in hiding. The arrested Jews were loaded into a train at the railroad station to be moved to an unknown location.
It was a terrifying day, I cannot describe everything that took place. You cannot imagine the barbarism of the Germans. I am completely broken and cannot seem to find myself.”
Diary of Co-Pilot Robert F. Toner:
This one seems to be okay at first glance but when you look further you see the right page is blank. probably indicating that he died on the 12th.
ANONYMOUS GIRL DIARIST FROM THE LODZ GHETTO
“When it’s so cold, even my heart is heavy. There is nothing to cook today; we should be receiving three loaves of bread but we will be getting only one bread today. I don’t know what to do. I bought rotten and stinking beets from a woman, for 10 marks. We will cook half today and half tomorrow. Does this deserve to be called life?”
Anonymous girl diarist, March 6, 1942
“Beautiful, sunny day today. When the sun shines, my mood is lighter. How sad life is. When we look at the fence separating us from the rest of the world, our souls, like birds in a cage, yearn to be free. Longing breaks my heart, visions of the past come to me. Will I ever live in better times?”
Anonymous girl diarist, March 7, 1942
Brigitte Eicke, a Berlin teenager in World War II
1 February 1944“The school had been bombed when we arrived this morning. Waltraud, Melitta and I went back to Gisela’s and danced to gramophone records.
2 March 1945“Margot and I went to the Admiralspalast cinema to see ‘Meine Herren Söhne.’ It was such a lovely film but there was a power cut in the middle of it. How annoying!”
Annette Le Page,Army Nurse
“Have just returned from a wonderful leave — given quite unexpectedly. We left Cairo on Dec. 22nd, arriving at Jerusalem on Dec 23. with a Padre friend who escorted us, as there was no room elsewhere we stayed at the King David Hotel, which is the best place in Jerusalem, the food was not up to standard so we fed at the Y.M.C.A. restaurant which is immediately opposite. Margaret & I shared a beautiful double room with bathroom attached, we rather revelled in the luxury of it all I am afraid for two nights, then we moved to a pension after the Xmas rush was over on Boxing Day.
We visited the 16th G. H. which is in the Kaisers Palace on Mount Olivet — saw Mary Jack and all other friends, arranged to meet them at night to go to Bethlehem.
It was a wonderful experience to be in Bethlehem on Xmas eve, we were present at the Broadcast service. It was also very reminiscent of other — happier Xmases — my thoughts were enfolding you all & prayers were prayed for you all, by my friends also.
On Xmas day — we had to celebrate by having our Xmas breakfast at the Hotel — after which we attended the Church of Scotland morning service, there being no Methodist service — the first Xmas service since I left home — I mean in a Church — we walked over the hills and had our Xmas dinner at the Y.M. we spent the rest of the day with Mary Jack at the hospital.
On Boxing day we went to the American Colony, where we were most comfortable — we walked over the hills & went to Nahaiyel a seaside place & up to Metulla, on the Syrian Border. We went to Eir Karin — the village where John the Baptist was born, & climbed the hill, at the top of which, is a house and church owned by Miss Carey — she has a picture of the entire Carey family taken whilst the Bishop was visiting G’sey & what was more had a G’sey grandfather clock — we talked & talked & decided that we would fly home together with Mary Dorey, who is also in Palestine.
We loved the wild flowers – scarlet anemones — wild iris nestling in their leaves on the ground — picked oranges & lemons from the trees — it was a wonderful time — if somewhat saddened by not being able to share it with you both.”
Willy Peter Reese German infantry man(entry dates unknown)
”We danced in the railway carriages and fired into the air, made a captured Russian woman dance naked for us and smeared her breasts with boot polish, we made her as drunk as we were,”
“The dead piled up and the desperate fought on behind the walls of their corpses. My comrades fell, blown to pieces by direct hits, wounded or with nervous breakdowns,”
”This was no longer a battle, only murder. During short counter attacks we found our missing comrades cut to pieces and maimed, and we took no prisoners either”