The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the /Lod'z Ghetto

Dawid Sierakowiak, Author, Alan Adelson, Author, Alan Edelsonwiak, Editor Oxford University Press, USA $35 (288p) ISBN 978-0-19-510450-9
When the Nazis captured Lodz, the great textile center of Poland, they squeezed the Jewish population of 200,000 into a sealed neighborhood and began systematically to work and starve them to death. Sierakowiak began his journals when he was 15, just before the war, and continued with almost daily entries until it abruptly breaks off in 1943. Edited by Adelson, producer of the documentary film, Lodz Ghetto, the diary meticulously records Sierakowiak's own deterioration as well as that of the ghetto. Sierakowiak chronicles the growing hunger and desperation of those residents not connected to Chaim Rumkowski, the ghetto's corrupt and dictatorial leader, and the loss of both parents--his mother to the Nazis and his father to tuberculosis, the disease that would claim Sierakowiak at the end. Although Sierakowiak was a Marxist, his political beliefs didn't lead to action of any sort, unlike many of the young leftists in the European ghettos. Instead, he focused almost entirely on food coupons and where he could find work. His obsession with exams, grades and abstract communist theory make the knowledgeable reader, aware of what is to come, scream with exasperation. Sierakowiak didn't have an artist's observant eye, although he was a dedicated reader of literature, so there are no distinctive individuals here aside from the writer himself, nor are there inspirational statements about the innate goodness of people. What is here is a repetitive and detailed account of a population being methodically ground into dust. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-19-512285-5
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