Renia Spiegel- The diary of a teenage girl, murdered by the Nazis

Renia Spiegel was born on 18 June 1924 in Uhryńkowce, then in Poland and now in western Ukraine, to Polish-Jewish parents Bernard Spiegel and Róża Maria Leszczyńska.

Like many other teenage girls Renia kept a diary. She started hers when she was 15, on January 1st 1939, 9 months before German and Slovak troops invaded Poland.

Renia Spiegel had just turned 18 when the Nazis found her in hiding and murdered her. But her 700-page diary survived. Rather then me telling you her story, I will let Renia’s words do the talking. Below are just a few excerpts from her diary. The pictures I used are of Renia and her sister and mother, to show the contrast of the happier times. Her last name Spiegel translates to Mirror. Let we use her words as a mirror to our souls.

“January 31, 1939

Why did I decide to start a diary today? Has something important happened? Have I discovered that my friends are keeping diaries of their own? No! I just want a friend. Somebody I can talk to about my everyday worries and joys. Somebody who will feel what I feel, believe what I say and never reveal my secrets. No human being could ever be that kind of friend.

Today, my dear diary, is the beginning of our deep friendship. Who knows how long it will last? It might even continue until the end of our lives.

In any case, I promise to always be honest with you. In return, you’ll listen to my thoughts and concerns, but you’ll remain silent like an enchanted book, locked up with an enchanted key and hidden in an enchanted castle. You will not betray me.

First of all, allow me to introduce myself. I’m a student at the Maria Konopnicka Middle School for Girls. My name is Renia, or at least that is what my friends call me. I have a little sister, Ariana, who wants to be a movie star. (She’s been in some movies already.)

Our mother lives in Warsaw. I used to live in a beautiful manor house on the Dniester River. I loved it there. There were storks on old linden trees. Apples glistened in the orchard, and I had a garden with neat, charming rows of flowers. But those days will never return. There is no manor house anymore, no storks on old linden trees, no apples or flowers. All that remain are memories, sweet and lovely. And the Dniester River, which flows, distant, strange and cold—which hums, but not for me anymore.

Now I live in Przemysl, at my grandmother’s house. But the truth is, I have no real home. That’s why sometimes I get so sad that I have to cry. I miss my mamma and her warm heart. I miss the house where we all lived together.

Again the need to cry takes over me
When I recall the days that used to be
The linden trees, house, storks and butterflies
Far… somewhere…too far for my eyes
I see and hear what I miss
The wind that used to lull old trees
And nobody tells me anymore
About the fog, about the silence
The distance and darkness outside the door
I will always hear this lullaby
See our house and pond laid by
And linden trees against the sky…

But I also have joyous moments, and there are so many of them. So many! Let me introduce some of my classmates to you.

September 6, 1939

War has broken out! Since last week, Poland has been fighting with Germany. England and France also declared war on Hitler and surrounded him on three sides. But he isn’t sitting idly. Enemy planes keep flying over Przemysl, and every now and then there’s an air raid siren. But, thank God, no bombs have fallen on our city so far. Other cities like Krakow, Lwow, Czestochowa and Warsaw have been partially destroyed.

But we’re all fighting, from young girls to soldiers. I’ve been taking part in female military training—digging air raid trenches, sewing gas masks. I’ve been serving as a runner. I have shifts serving tea to the soldiers. I walk around and collect food for the soldiers. In a word, I’m fighting alongside the rest of the Polish nation. I’m fighting and I’ll win!

March 16, 1940

Nora and I have decided that ten years from today, wherever we are, whether we’re still friends or angry at each other, in good health or bad health, we’re going to meet or write to each other and compare what’s changed in our lives. So remember: March 16, 1950.

I’ve started liking a boy named Holender. We’ve been introduced to each other, but he’s already forgotten me. He’s well-built and broad-shouldered. He has pretty black eyes and falcon-like eyebrows. He’s beautiful.

April 24, 1940

Terrible things have been happening. There were unexpected nighttime raids that lasted three days. People were rounded up and sent somewhere deep inside Russia. So many acquaintances of ours were taken away. There was terrible screaming at school. Girls were crying. They say 50 people were packed into one cargo train car. You could only stand or lie on bunks. Everybody was singing “Poland has not yet perished.”

About that Holender boy I mentioned: I fell in love, I chased him like a madwoman, but he was interested in some girl named Basia. Despite that, I still like him, probably more than any other boy I know. Sometimes I feel this powerful, overwhelming need…maybe it’s just my temperament. I should get married early so I can withstand it.

December 8, 1940

Suddenly, I love him like crazy. Just think, everything was about to go dormant and today it sprung back to life. Nothing happened—but still so much! He played with my hood, stroked it, came closer! Wonderful Zygus, wonderful, so wonderful!!!

Hey, let’s drink our wine
Let’s drink from our lips
And when the cup runs dry
Let’s switch to drinking blood
Wanting and yearning
Inspiration and love burning
Let them start a fire
Let rage burn like pyre
But remember, girl, that flames
travel in your veins
that blood can burst you from inside
Wanting and yearning
Inspiration and love burning
Let them start a fire
Let rage burn like pyre
Both wine and lips are red
One life before you are dead
Our hearts are hungry, young, on fire
Only for each other beat.
Remember, girl, that flames
travel in your veins

December 10, 1940

You know, when I see Zygus, I have this blissful, pleasant feeling that’s unpleasant at the same time. Something paralyzes me. Ah, that idiot, if he only knew how much I love him. There’s an invisible thread connecting us. It can break, but no…If we could really be together, it would be wonderful and terrible at the same time! I don’t know. I have no idea what’s happening to me.

April 27, 1941

Mamma, I’m so low. You know, sometimes I find excuses for Zygus. For example, he didn’t come to see me and I said it was just because he was feeling shy (he is easily embarrassed!). Today, poor, dear Granny made a clumsy attempt to help me feel better, but instead she only lacerated my already bleeding heart. It will take a while for it to heal. I don’t know why this day feels so dirty.

May 20, 1942

Yesterday Z. came to pick me up from my job at the factory and we walked out holding hands. Orchards are in blossom, May is shining with its blue skies and I’m shining, too, with joy. I feel like his little daughter and I like it oh so much!

May 23, 1942

Something has been bothering me terribly the last few days. I know Nora is thinking about what it’s going to be like when my romance ends. She’s accusing me of taking it too seriously and (does she have a clearheaded view of it?) she makes my heart ache. I know she doubts whether Z. really loves me. I know it; I can feel it.

And Zygus sometimes says something without realizing it and it hurts me so badly. Sometimes, when it bothers me too much, I think about running away. But when I hold him tightly, when he’s near, so very near, I feel I wouldn’t be able to part with him for all the treasures in the world. That would mean giving up my soul.

Nora, you are wrong. You’re different, but I’d be left with nothing.

When Z. is good to me, everything is good and bright and full of sunshine. Such a shame the month is about to pass. The nights are filled with stars. They’re so infatuating and I dream so much, I dream, I dream.

June 2, 1942

Now I know what the word ecstasy means. It’s indescribable; it’s the best thing two loving creatures can achieve. For the first time, I felt this longing to become one, to be one body and…well…to feel more, I could say. To bite and kiss and squeeze until blood shows. And Zygus talked about a house and a car and about being the best man for me.

Lord God, I’m so grateful to you for this affection and love and happiness! I’m writing these words differently, whispering them in my mind so I don’t scare them away or blow them out. I don’t want to think about anything, I just want to desire so badly, so passionately like…you know. You will help me, Bulus and God.

June 14, 1942

It’s dark, I can’t write. Panic in the city. We fear a pogrom; we fear deportations. Oh God Almighty! Help us! Take care of us; give us your blessing. We will persevere, Zygus and I, please let us survive the war. Take care of all of us, of the mothers and children. Amen.

July 5, 1942

We feared it and then it finally happened. The ghetto. The notices went out today. Supposedly, they’re planning to deport half the people. Great Lord God, have mercy. My thoughts are so dark, it’s a sin to even think them.

I saw a happy-looking couple today. They’d been on an outing; they were on their way back, amused and happy. Zygus, my darling, when will we go on an outing like theirs? I love you as much as she loves him. I would look at you the same way. But she’s so much happier, that’s the only thing I know. Or perhaps—oh, Holy God, you are full of mercy—our children will say one day, “Our mother and father lived in the ghetto.” Oh, I strongly believe it.

July 25, 1942

The Jewish Ghetto Police came last night. We haven’t paid everything yet. Oh! Why can’t money rain down from the sky? It’s people’s lives, after all. Terrible times have come. Mamma, you have no idea how terrible. But Lord God looks after us and, though I’m horribly frightened, I have trust in him.

I trust, because this morning a bright ray of sunshine came through all this darkness. It was sent by my Mamma in a letter, in the form of a wonderful photograph of her. And when she smiled at me from the photo, I thought that Holy God has us in his care! Even in the darkest moments there is something that can make us smile. Mamma, pray for us. I send you lots of kisses. You will help me, Bulus and God.

In the evening!

My dear diary, my good, beloved friend! We’ve gone through such terrible times together and now the worst moment is upon us. I could be afraid now. But the One who didn’t leave us then will help us today too. He’ll save us. Hear, O, Israel, save us, help us. You’ve kept me safe from bullets and bombs, from grenades. Help me survive! And you, my dear mamma, pray for us today, pray hard. Think about us and may your thoughts be blessed. Mamma! My dearest, one and only, such terrible times are coming. I love you with all my heart. I love you; we will be together again. God, protect us all and Zygmunt and my grandparents and Ariana. God, into Your hands I commit myself. You will help me, Bulus and God.”

When the Przemyśl ghetto was established July 1942, The Spiegel family moved in along with 24,000 other Jews. After about two weeks, Schwarzer, (aka Zygu)who worked with the local resistance, secretly removed Renis from the ghetto and hid her and his own parents in the attic of his uncle’s house because they had not received the work permits they would need in order to avoid deportation to concentration camps. An unknown informant told Nazi police about the hiding place, who executed the eighteen-year-old Renia along with Schwarzer’s parents in the street on July 30, 1942.

“Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.” This line is the final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary. It is the final entry but it was not written by her but by her boyfriend.

Renia had left her diary with her boyfriend ,Zygmunt Schwarzer, for safekeeping.

sources

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/hear-o-israel-save-us-renia-spiegel-diary-english-translation-holocaust-poland-180970536/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/teen-diarist-renia-spiegel-polands-anne-frank-gets-her-due-after-80-years/

https://allthatsinteresting.com/renia-spiegel-holocaust-diary

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Happy Birthday Anne Frank

Dear Anne, today you would have turned 93, but we all know the history why that didn’t happen.

Some of that history is written in the diary you received on your 13th birthday, June 12 1942.So many people have read that diary, your private thoughts laid bare for the world to see. But I am sure you would not have minded that because aside it being a diary, it is also a historical record. You made sure of that because you could see and hear what was happening around you. You also heeded the call of the exiled Dutch government for people to record as much as they could.

What some people don’t realize if the Nazis would not have got to power, your diary would have looked so much different, it wouldn’t even have been written in Dutch but German, Because if the Nazis had not got to power your parents would not have had to move. Your German diary would have told a different story. The story about a different kind of anxiety. The anxiety of a regular teenage girl. Her first dance, her first kiss and perhaps even of the first time having sex with a boyfriend. The anxiety of seeing each other naked for the first time, and maybe how you blushed the first time he touched your breasts and you touched his penis. Who knows, what would be in that diary? I am not saying this to be disrespectful, far from it, like any other girl you deserved that level of intimacy but you were denied it. But your German diary would have been just that, a diary, only for you to read.

People call you an author. But you weren’t you were just a girl who had the endure something no girl should have to endure.

And like any other girl you had friends.

Lucia “Lucie” van Dijk , a Christian friend from the Montessori school. Lucie’s mother was an adamant member of the NSB,the Dutch Nazi party, until the end of the war, but Lucie’s disillusioned father left the party in 1942. You were shocked when the van Dijks became party members, but your dad ,Otto, patiently explained to her that they could still be good people even if they had distasteful politics.

Rie “Ietje” Swillens was another good friend of yours all the way through Montessori school.

Nanette Blitz Konig who was born on April 6, 1929 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. just a few months older then you. A friend and a class mate . You were in the same class at the Jewish Lyceum.

Like your family ,the Blitz family was arrested and taken to the Westerbork transit camp and from there were deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It was Nannette that reunited you with your sister Margot, in Bergen Belsen. However Nanette survived the war and the Holocaust. She now lives in Brazil.

Then there was another Nanette ; Nanette van Praag Sigaar.

You were also in the same class at the Jewish Lyceum, in Amsterdam. You even wrote about her in your diary. You said “Nannie is a funny, tiny, clever girl. I like her. She is smart.” What you didn’t know is that Nannie was murdered in Auschwitz on November 5,1942, just a few months after you received your diary as a birthday gift.

Your 13th birthday gift is now a gift to us all. Not just a gift but also a stark reminder of what humans are capable of doing to other humans.

You would have been 92 today. Nowadays you may have been famous as one of the first people being vaccinated against the Covid 19 virus. But you were killed by a much worse virus, hate.

Happy Birthday Anne, or rather Van Harte Gefeliciteerd.

sources

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/569313/uit-het-dagboek-van-anne-frank

https://www.geni.com/people/Nanette-van-Praag-Sigaar/6000000047467779849

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5235152/bio

Helmuth Hübener teenager murdered for speaking the truth.

Helmuth Hübner, was a young member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), he lived in the St. Georg Branch in Hamburg.


His short life was shaped by the rise of fascism in Germany. The Nazis changed nearly every aspect of everyday life for Germans, and Helmut was no exception. He had been a devoted Boy Scout, but he was forced to become part of the Hitler Youth, when the Nazis banned the Boy scouts organization in 1935. Helmut did not feel comfortable with this and quit the Hitler youth in 1938,aged 13.

He was disturbed by participation of the Hitler Youth in Kristallnacht.After Hübener finished secondary school in 1941, he began an apprentice training course at the Hamburg Social Welfare Authority He met other apprentices there, one of whom, Gerhard Düwer, (whom he would later recruit into his resistance movement). In 1941 at a sauna in Altona , he met new friends, some were members of an illegal Young Communist Group.

At that time Helmut started listening to foreign radio stations and mainly the BBC. It was forbidden to listen to any non-government radio transmissions, like the BBC’s multi-language broadcasts, and being caught could result into severe punishments ,including he death penalty.

Helmut found a shortwave radio, which belonged to his older half-brother Gerhard’s in a hallway closet. It had been given to Gerhard early that year by a soldier returning from service in France.

Helmut decided to spread the information he had heard on the radio from the BBC. He also persuaded other like-minded young people to join him in opposition. He started to o compose various anti-national socialist texts and anti-war leaflets.

The leaflets were designed to draw the Germans attention to how distorted the official Nazi reports about World War II from Berlin were, as well as to point out Adolf Hitler’s, Joseph Goebbels’s, and other leading Nazis’ criminal behaviour. Other themes covered by Hübener’s writings were the war’s futility and Germany’s looming defeat. He also mentioned the mistreatment sometimes meted out in the Hitler Youth.

In one of his pamphlets, for example, he wrote:

“German boys! Do you know the country without freedom, the country of terror and tyranny? Yes, you know it well, but are afraid to talk about it. They have intimidated you to such an extent that you don’t dare talk for fear of reprisals. Yes you are right; it is Germany – Hitler Germany! Through their unscrupulous terror tactics against young and old, men and women, they have succeeded in making you spineless puppets to do their bidding”.

For several months, Helmut spread the word about lost battles and Nazi lies. But on February 5 1942, a coworker and Nazi Party member Heinrich Mohn, denounced him. He had seen Helmut trying to translate the pamphlets into French and have them distributed among prisoners of war, he Helmut was arrested and tried before the Volksgerichtshof, or People’s Court, a Nazi-controlled tribunal that dealt with matters of treason.

On 11 August 1942, at age 17, Helmut was tried as an adult by the Special People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin, Helmut was sentenced to death.

After the sentence was announced , Helmut turned to the judges and said, “Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it’s my turn, but your turn will come.” He hoped this would focus the judge’s wrath solely on him and spare the life of his companions. It worked, his friends received long prison sentences, but survived the war. His two friends, Schnibbe and Wobbe, who had also been arrested, were given prison sentences of five and ten years respectively

On October 27, 1942, guards told Helmut that Adolf Hitler had personally refused to commute his death sentence. Hours later, he was beheaded—the youngest person in German resistance to Nazism ever executed by the Third Reich. It was highly unusual for the Nazis to try an underaged defendant, much less sentence him to death, but the court stated that Helmut had shown more than average intelligence for a boy his age.

Nowadays we also have very vocal youngsters, but mostly they are very privileged, especially in the wealthier western countries. I wonder though would they be willing to face harsh punishment and sacrifices for their causes. I doubt that very much, mainly because they are only paying lip service to often very trivial causes in comparison.

On the other hand there were very fanatical youngsters in Nazi Germany, actively and violently defending the Nazi regime. Children like Alfred Zech, a German child soldier who received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class at the age of 12 years.

sources

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/helmuth-huebener/?no_cache=1

https://www.history.com/news/meet-the-youngest-person-executed-for-defying-the-nazis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Zech

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Emmi G.

Emmi G

This is a picture of Emmi G,a victim of the T4  euthanasia program. Killed because she was ‘different’.

What makes her story even sadder is the fact that we don’t even know her full name. All we know is that she was 16 when she was killed with an overdose of tranquilizers on December 7, 1942 in Meseritz-Obrawalde euthanasia center.

Even the date is heartbreaking  it was 1 day after the celebrations of der Heilige Nikolaus, or Saint Nicholas. The traditional German Christmas celebration.Although the war was raging the St Nicolas feast was still celebrated throughout the war.

Emmi G had been diagnosed as schizophrenic,she worked as a housemaid. If she actually was  schizophrenic is doubtful. She was a teenager dealing with teenage anxiety during the most horrible time in history. I have no evidence of this but my presumption is that she had just become an ‘inconvenience’ and was therefore killed.

None of the cases in the T4 program were voluntary.

Even if she had been  schizophrenic that does not warrant a death penalty. What it does require is psychiatric help, but that is something the Nazis did not subscribe to. That is why the designed the T4 program. The irony is the real mental cases were the Nazi leaders themselves.

The story of Emmi G does come with a warning though. We may think that this could not possibly happen here however some European countries do allow Euthanasia on teenagers and even younger children. even children with mental problems

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source USHMM

 

Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.

diary

“Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.” This line is the final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary. It is the final entry but it was not written by her but by her boyfriend.

Renia had left her diary with her boyfriend ,Zygmunt Schwarzer,  for safekeeping. You see Renia could not write that line because one of those three shots was for her.

Zygmunt Schwarzer had helped Renia and his own parents  to hide in the attic of his Uncle’s house but an informant betrayed her whereabouts to the Nazis;s and Renia and Schwarzer’s parents  were shot in the street on July 30, 1942.

Her last name Spiegel means mirror in both the German and Dutch language. Renia’s story as so many others is a mirror we should look at. If we truly look into that mirror we can only come to one conclusion. So little has been learned form the horrors of the past, so little that we are bound to repeat them.

Ending this blog with some of Renia’s own words from July 15,1942 just over 2 weeks before she was killed . May her words  be a mirror to our souls.

“Remember this day; remember it well, You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. Leaving the ghetto without a pass,  is punishable by death.

Inside, there are only our people, close ones, dear ones. Outside, there are strangers. My soul is so very sad. My heart is seized with terror,”

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

The Smithsonian

The Guardian

Irish Times

 

Rachel de Groot- A teenage girl, murdered.

Rachel

I wish I could write about how Rachel de Groot survived the war and grew up to fulfill her potential, But I can’t, in fact I can’t even say that much about her. Not because there is not much known about her, because there is.

The reason why I can’t say too much about Rachel is because I am the Father of a teenage girl, the thought that something could happen to her lives with me 24/7 ,but that is normal for any Father or Mother for that matter.

Seeing a picture of Rachel makes me realize how fragile life is and how quick situations can change. One day you are living without a care in the world then suddenly you find yourself in hiding, hiding for people who hate you so much even though they have never met you.

Rachel, her parents and her younger brother al went into hiding in November 1942, the Dutch police, instructed by the Nazi occupiers were rounding up Jews.

Rachel liked to make handcrafts and she used these black, gold and white beads for that purpose, I do not know for certain but I reckon she used them to make jewelry.

Just cheap disposable beads but they must have been extremely valuable to Rachel because they keep her mind occupied, an escape from the horrors and anxiety she faced.

beadz

Despite everything she still must have had hope because she even made a calendar when she was in hiding, indicating she was still planning her days. People who have no hope do not plan.

calendar

As I stated earlier, I have a teenage daughter and it could have easily been her and I could have been that father with her in hiding, something I just can’t fathom.

Rachel was born on August 15, 1927. In Amersfoort .My daughter was also born in August. Rachel was murdered in Auschwitz on May 22,1944 together with her mother, Rachel was aged 16, when she was murdered , the same age my daughter is now. Rachel’s  Father arrived a few months later and was murdered on September 30,1944.Her brother survived the war.

The family was arrested on April 8, 1944 at their hiding place, They were betrayed by Ans van Dijk, a Jewish woman who collaborated with the Nazis to safe her own life. They were arrested by Willem Grootendorst, an old schoolfriend of Rachel’s father

Now I know there will be some people who read this and will say that this blog is partially  based on presumptions, and that is true because I never met Rachel , how could I have she was murdered before I was even born. But the only way for us to remotely understand the Holocaust(because for those who did not live through it, can never understand) is by making it personal.

For some reason Rachel’s story touched me more then other stories, maybe it because of my paternal instincts.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/artifact/beads-used-by-a-dutch-jewish-girl-in-hiding

Groot, de (Rachel/Chelly)

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/541363/about-rachel-de-groot

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn513933

Anne Frank- Just a teenage girl.

Anne Frank

When you look up information on Anne Frank, the first thing you will see is that she is described as a German born or Dutch Diarist, as if she was a well established author or Journalist, but she wasn’t.

She was just a teenage girl who happened to write a diary, like so many other girls did in that time and probably still do. If she had been a teenager now, I am certain she would have been on Instagram. Snapchat, Facebook and other social media. She was a very bubbly girl who like to express herself.

Does this make her diary less valuable? No of course not, it makes it even more valuable because the diary was not written by a professional author but by a young girl who described her daily life , a life which so few can even fathom nowadays.

Her diary became her closest friend and ally. A tool to express her fear, boredom, and the struggles as a teenager growing up. On 16 March 1944, she wrote: “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I’d absolutely suffocate.”

12 days later on March 28,1944 the exiled Dutch minister for education,Gerrit Bolkestein, gave a speech on Radio Orange where he appealed to listeners in the occupied Netherlands to record their everyday experiences on paper.

“If future generations are to realize to the full extent what we as a population are going through and what we are experiencing in this time of war, then it is clear that we will need simple documents: a diary, letters from a laborer forced to go to work in Germany, sermons spoken by a clergyman”.

Bolkesijn

Anne Frank, was one of the many who heard Bolkestein’s appeal at the time. That night she wrote about her housemates: “…of course, everyone rushed for my diary all at once”. She started to rework her diary and called it The Secret Annex.

Next week , June 12th will be Annelise Marie Frank’s 90th Birthday . I had planned to write a blog about Anne on that day, but I will be busy make a preparations for a trip I am taking with my teenage daughter.

Next time when you read about Anne Frank and you see her described as a German born or Dutch diarist please do not forget she was also just a teenage girl, who happened to have written a diary.

A teenage girl who still could be alive today, but her life was cut short by a brutal fascist regime. A regime which had no regard for life.

anne frank diary

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

geheugenvannederland.nl

History Extra

Jeremy spoke in class today.

jermy

The title of this blog is a line from the Pearl Jam song “Jeremy” it is one of my favourite Rock tracks and by far the best track of the album “Ten”. Although I have listened to the song hundreds of times I never really paid to much attention to the history of the song.

I assumed it was a made up tale of a made up boy in a made up school, but I was wrong. The Jeremy in the song was a real boy, who tragically committed suicide on January 8, 1991.

Jeremy Delle attended Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas

He was 15 at the time. On the fateful day he was late for his second period English class.Because of this tardiness the teacher urged Jeremy to go down to the office and get an attendance slip. However Jeremy did not go to the office, he went to his locker. Took out a with a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver and returned to the classroom . He turned to his teacher and said “Miss, I got what I really went for,” and then shot himself in front of his classmates.

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Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder read about the suicide in a newspaper article and decided to write a song about it, in a way as an ode to the troubled teenager.

Even though the song was well intended it does not portray an accurate picture of the situation.

One line of the song talks about a father who didn’t pay attention and a mother who didn’t care. This is however not true. Jeremy  was living with his father, his parents were divorced and he had been in counseling at the school which he was also new to. In the video of the song it is also suggested that he was struggling with his sexuality but according a friend that was not the case at all, in fact most of the video is totally inaccurate. Why Pearl Jam decided on this direction of the video, I don’t know.

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He was a quiet boy but there wasn’t any real evidence of bullying. The fact is the teenage years in anyone’s life are complex years, Stuck between childhood and adulthood, hormones flying of the charts. If you add an uncertain future to that and new surroundings it can easily lead to bigger problems. It is not a coincidence that a a great percentage of suicides are committed by teenage boys.

His mother said in a recent interview she said ‘That day that he died did not define his life. He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend. He was talented,’ she said.

My heart goes out to her and the family. Each time I will hear the song now, I will say a quick prayer for a poor troubled boy and his family.

Ending the blog with Pearl Jam’s video.

 

 

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I don’t want to die because I have hardly lived

eva

This is going to be a short blog for it is impossible for me to do an in depth story without turning into an emotional wreck.

Eva Heyman was a 13 year old Hungarian Jewish girl. I have a daughter the same age, with the same beautiful smile.

Eva had one simple wish ,which she recorded in her diary.

“Yet, my little Diary, I don’t want to die, I still want to live .. I would wait for the end of the war in a cellar, or in the attic, or any hole, I would, my little Diary….”

“I don’t want to die because I have hardly lived”

She wrote this on May 30th 1944.less then 5 months later she was dead, She died on October 17 1944. A certain Dr Mengele made sure of that.

Eva’s mother, Agnes Zsolt was rescued by allied troops when they liberated Bergen Belsen. Agnes reported the following about Eva’s death.

“A good-hearted female doctor was trying to hide my child, but Mengele found her without effort. Eva’s feet were full of sore wounds. ‘Now look at you’, Mengele shouted, ‘you frog, your feet are foul, reeking with pus! Up with you on the truck!’ He transported his human material to the crematorium on yellow-coloured trucks. Eyewitnesses told me that he himself had pushed her on to the truck.”

 

 

Rutka Laskier’s teenage account of the Holocaust.

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Rutka was 14 years old when she was murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. In the months before her death, Rutka, like Anne Frank in Amsterdam, kept a detailed diary documenting her deepest thoughts and fears. When she and her family – younger brother Henius, mother Dorka and father Yaakov ,were moved by the Nazis from their home in the Polish town of Bedzin to a closed ghetto, she believed she would not survive and hid the notebook under a floorboard, telling only her friend Stanislawa Sapinska of its existence.

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From 19 January to 24 April 1943, without her family’s knowledge, Laskier kept a diary in an ordinary school notebook, writing in both ink and pencil, making entries sporadically. In it, she discussed atrocities she witnessed committed by the Nazis, and described daily life in the ghetto, as well as innocent teenage love interests. She also wrote about the gas chambers at the concentration camps, indicating that the horrors of the camps had filtered back to those still living in the ghettos.

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Below are some of her Diary entries.

January 19, 1943

“I cannot grasp that it is already 1943, four years since this hell began.”

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January 27, 1943

I had my photo taken. Although usually I don’t look pretty in photographs, in reality I am very beautiful. I’m tall, thin, with nice legs, a thin waist, elongated hands but ugly fingernails. I have big black eyes, thick brown eyebrows and long eyelashes. Black hair, trimmed short and combed back, a pug nose, nicely outlined lips, snow-white teeth. I would like to pour out all the turmoil I am feeling inside, but I’m incapable. Sometimes I’m so depressed, that when I open my mouth it’s only to sting someone.

February 5, 1943

The rope around us is getting tighter. Next month there should be a ghetto, a real one, surrounded by walls.

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In the summer it will be unbearable. To sit in a grey locked cage, without being able to see fields and flowers. I can’t believe that one day I’ll be able to leave the house without the yellow star.

 

The little faith I had has been shattered. If God existed, He would not have permitted that human beings be thrown alive into furnaces, and the heads of little toddlers be smashed with butt of guns or be shoved into sacks and gassed to death… Those who haven’t seen this would never believe it. But it’s the truth.

February 6, 1943.

Something has broken in me. When I pass by a German, everything shrinks in me. I don’t know whether it’s out of fear or hatred. Today, I recalled in detail the day of August 12, 1942 the mass round-up of Bedzin’s Jews for deportation.

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We got up at 4am. There were thousands of people on the road. I looked beyond the fence and saw soldiers with machine guns aimed at the square in case someone tried to escape. People fainted, children cried. Judgment Day. It was terribly hot. Then, all of a sudden, it started pouring. The rain didn’t stop. At 3pm the selection started. 1. meant returning home, 1a. going to labour, 2. meant going for further inspection and 3. deportation, in other words death. Mom, Dad and my brother were sent to group 1. I was sent to 1a. I was stunned. Salek, Linka and Niania already sat there. The weirdest thing was that we didn’t cry AT ALL. Little children were lying on the wet grass. The policemen beat them ferociously and shot them.

 

 

I sat there until 1am. Then I ran away. I jumped out of a window from the first floor of a small building, and nothing happened to me. My lips were bitten so bad that they bled. Oh, I forgot the most important thing. I saw how a soldier tore a baby, who was only a few months old, out of its mother’s hands and bashed his head against an electric pylon. The baby’s brain splashed on the wood. The mother went crazy. I’m 14, and I haven’t seen much in my life, and I’m already so indifferent. Janek came by this afternoon. He blurted out he’d like it very much if he could kiss me. I said “maybe”. But I won’t let him. I’m afraid it would destroy something beautiful, pure. I’m also afraid that I’ll be very disappointed.

February 20, 1943…
I have a feeling that I’m writing for the last time. There is an Aktion “resettlement” of Jews. This is hell. I try to escape from thoughts of the next day, but they haunt me like nagging flies.

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I was foolish about Janek. My eyes have been opened. The only thing that matters to him is that his pants are ironed, how many cakes he ate at Frontag’s coffee house and girls’ legs.
March 8, 1943…
I must pull myself together and not wet my pillow with tears. I am sick and tired of the steady fear seen in everybody’s faces. This fear clutches on to everyone and doesn’t let go.
April 24, 1943…
The sun is shining so brightly. Outside the windows apple trees and lilacs are blooming, and you have to sit in this suffocating and stinking room. The entire day I’m walking around the room, I have nothing to do.

Rutka was deported from the ghetto and was believed to have died in a gas chamber, age 14, along with her mother and brother, upon arrival with her family at the Auschwitz concentration camp in August 1943.Although there are reports she may have died later.

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While writing the diary, Laskier shared it with Stanisława Sapińska (21 years old, at that time), whom she had befriended after Laskier’s family moved into a home owned by Sapińska’s Roman Catholic family, which had been confiscated by the Nazis so that it could be included in the ghetto.Laskier gradually came to realise she would not survive, and, realizing the importance of her diary as a document of what had happened to the Jewish population of Będzin, asked Sapińska to help her hide the diary. Sapińska showed Laskier how to hide the diary in her house under the double flooring in a staircase, between the first and second floors.

After the ghetto was evacuated and all its inhabitants sent to the death camp, Sapińska returned to the house and retrieved the diary. She kept it in her home library for 63 years and did not share it with anyone but members of her immediate family. In 2005, Adam Szydłowski, the chairman of the Center of Jewish Culture of the Zagłębie Region of Poland, was told by one of Sapińska’s nieces about the existence of the diary

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With help from Sapińska’s nephew, he obtained a photocopy of the diary and was instrumental in the publishing of its Polish-language edition. Its publication by Yad Vashem Publications was commemorated with a ceremony in Jerusalem by Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority), Israel’s Holocaust museum, on 4 June 2007, in which Zahava Scherz took part. At this ceremony, Sapińska also donated the original diary to Yad Vashem, in violation of Polish law.

The diary, which has been authenticated by Holocaust scholars and survivors, has been compared to the diary of Anne Frank, the best known Holocaust-era diary. The two girls were approximately the same age when they wrote their respective diaries (Laskier at age 14 and Frank between the ages of 13 and 15), and, in both cases, of their entire families, only their fathers survived the war.