Renia’s Diary: A Holocaust Journal

Renia Spiegel. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-24402-4
This moving diary by Spiegel (1924–1942), who was killed in the Holocaust, chronicles her life in Poland from January 31, 1939, before the German-Soviet occupation, to July 25, 1942, when she went into hiding from the Nazis. Spiegel composed most of the diary while living with her grandparents in the city of Przemysl , while her parents worked elsewhere in Poland. Spiegel comes off as a typical teenager in many of these pages, concerned with friends and parties. Her entries include a mix of poetry and detailed narrative in which she writes of missing her mother and loving her boyfriend Zygmund, whom she calls “my beating heart.” (Zygmund, readers later learn, kept her diary safe after the war and, in the 1950s, delivered it to her mother in New York.) As the war advances, Spiegel’s anxiety becomes palpable. She writes about wearing an armband with a blue star, fearing deportation, and moving into a ghetto. “Terrible times are coming,” she predicts in the diary’s final entry. The book concludes with a riveting epilogue and commentary by Spiegel’s younger sister, Elizabeth, about the help she and her mother received after Spiegel’s death from Catholic Poles who facilitated their escape. This family’s epic, layered story of survival serves as an important Holocaust document. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/05/2019
Release date: 09/24/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-24596-0
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