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Laurel Holliday

Författare till Children in the Holocaust and World War II

8 verk 627 medlemmar 4 recensioner

Om författaren

Inkluderar namnet: [edited by] Laurel Holliday.

Foto taget av: Laurel Holliday


Verk av Laurel Holliday


Allmänna fakta

Seattle, Washington, USA



“Perhaps it is so painful to think about the impact of the war on children—particularly their mass executions—that we have not wanted to read about it, even when that has meant refusing to hear from the children themselves. Maybe it was as much as we could bear to designate Anne Frank the representative child of the Holocaust and to think, then, only of her when we thought about children in World War II.

But, in some ways, Anne Frank was not representative of children in the war and Holocaust. Because she was in hiding, she did not experience life in the streets, the ghettos, the concentration camps, as it was lived by millions of children throughout Europe.”

The Secret Diaries is an anthology of diaries written by children aged 10-18 from a smattering of countries across Europe. Both boys and girls, Jews and Gentiles are represented and their backgrounds include a variety of social classes and a rural/urban mix. Some of the children had been keeping a diary prior to the war, but most started one as a stress release or as a deliberate record of their experiences. The sheer variety makes the author’s point that no one child’s experience can represent the whole. The anthology includes entire diaries or extended excerpts and is organized by the child’s age, youngest to oldest. Each diary is preceded by several paragraphs describing what is known about the child and their fate.

The first diarist is ten-year-old Janine Phillips who started her diary in May 1939 when her extended family moved to the Polish countryside. She lived in relative comfort, and her diary is newsy and humorous, filling a 1000-page notebook in that one year. The family then moved back to Warsaw, and during the Ghetto Uprising she organized a first-aid station as a Girl Guide. She was arrested and taken to Germany as a prisoner of war. She was 16 when the war ended and she was released.

Ephraim Shtenkler was two-years-old when he was given to a Polish woman, who was paid to hide him. Unfortunately, she resented him and kept him locked in a cupboard, barely alive. He was rescued five years later and had to learn to walk. He wrote about his experiences when he was 11.

Another diary that haunts me is that of Eva Heyman. She was thirteen when the Nazis invaded and occupied Hungary. Her family had been active politically, so they knew they would be targets. Eva’s best friend, Marta, was shot by the Nazis, and Eva wrote often of her desire to live. Her diary ends abruptly on the day they were deported to Auschwitz. “All I know is that I don’t believe anything anymore, all I think about it Marta, and I’m afraid that what happened to her is going to happen to us, too. It’s no use that everybody says that we’re not going to Poland but to Balaton. Even though, dear diary, I don’t want to die; I want to live even it if means that I’ll be the only person here allowed to stay. I would wait for the end of the war in some cellar, or on the roof, on in some secret cranny. I would even let the cross-eyed gendarme, the one who took our flour away from us, kiss me, just as long as they didn’t kill me, only that they should let me live.”

Ina Constantinova was sixteen when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. She was determined to fight for her country in a combat role. She joined the partisans as a saboteur and spy and died at the age of twenty covering the retreat of her comrades with a submachine gun. Hannah Senesh, too, was to die fighting. In 1939 she escaped Hungary and fled to Palestine, a devoted Zionist, at the age of seventeen. Over the course of the war, she became convinced that her role was to help organize the escape of other Jewish youth. She parachuted into Hungary in 1944, but was captured by the Nazis, tortured for months, then executed. She became a national hero, and her diary and poems are widely read throughout Israel.

Other children diarists wrote about the bombings, life in the ghettos, death marches. They wrote from hiding, from concentration camps, from prison. Their age spared them from nothing, yet their diaries were different from those of adult writers, yet I’m at a loss to explain exactly how. There is innocence, and yet many of them are exposed to horrors that belie the concept of innocence. Their concerns can be different—school, friends, crushes; or similar to adults—the search for food, a hiding spot, strength to live another day. Perhaps the difference lies in the sense of youth lost, whether acknowledged by the diarist (“29 July 1940 On the Last Day of My Childhood”) or by the reader alone.
… (mer)
1 rösta
labfs39 | 2 andra recensioner | Feb 10, 2021 |
This was a pleasant change from the previous Holocaust diaries I've read. The problem with real diaries of any kind (as opposed to fictional diaries) is that, with a few exceptions, people's daily lives are simply not interesting to read about. That applies even if they were Jews living during the Nazi era.

But this book did two things that made it interesting. First, it showed many many people's diaries, achieving a wide perspective, from a Danish Christian evacuee to a Russian partisan to an ordinary London teenager to the usual assortment of Jews suffering horribly. The second thing was that only small portions of these people's diaries were included -- that is, the interesting bits. This is why I found it much more pleasant to read than, say, the diaries of Petr Ginz or Anne Frank or Dawid Sierakowiak.

I would highly recommend this book for school libraries and Holocaust study.
… (mer)
meggyweg | 2 andra recensioner | Mar 6, 2009 |
The first in an amazing series of writings by children in war zones.
thesmellofbooks | Nov 26, 2008 |
Diaries of 23 youth, 10 to 18 yo, living in Europe during WW II, Jewish and Christian. Some did not survive.
Folkshul | 2 andra recensioner | Jan 15, 2011 |



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