Renia Spiegel

Renia’s Diary
  • Renia’s Diary

  • Introduction by Deborah E. Lipstadt, author of Denial

    July 15, 1942, Wednesday
    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.

    Renia is a young girl who dreams of becoming a poet. But Renia is Jewish, she lives in Poland and the year is 1939. When Russia and Germany invade her country, Renia's world shatters. Separated from her mother, her life takes on a new urgency as she flees Przemysl to escape night bombing raids, observes the disappearances of other Jewish families and, finally, witnesses the creation of the ghetto.

    But alongside the terror of war, there is also great beauty, as she begins to find her voice as a writer and falls in love for the first time. She and the boy she falls in love with, Zygmunt, share their first kiss a few hours before the Nazis reach her hometown. And it is Zygmunt who writes the final, heartbreaking entry in Renia’s diary.

    Recently rediscovered after seventy years, Renia’s Diary is already being described as a classic of Holocaust literature. Written with a clarity and skill that is reminiscent of Anne Frank, Renia's Diary also includes a prologue and epilogue by Renia's sister Elizabeth, as well as an introduction by Deborah E. Lipstadt, author of Denial. It is an extraordinary testament to both the horrors of war, and to the life that can exist even in the darkest times.

Renia Spiegel was born in eastern Poland in 1924. In January 1939 she began to write a diary. When war broke out she and her sister were living in Przemysl with her grandparents. Separated from her mother by the war, the next few years saw her living under first Soviet, then Nazi occupation, and the creation of the ghetto. In the summer of 1942, Renia was forced into hiding to escape the liquidation of the ghetto. A few days later, her hiding place was discovered and she was shot; she was just eighteen.


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