A Young Girl’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust
The heartbreaking diary of a young Polish-Jewish girl who lived through the early days of the Holocaust, recently rediscovered after seventy years.
**New York Times bestseller**
'At a moment when basic agreement over simple truths has become a political battleground and history a weapon, the publication of the book, Renia’s Diary, offers a reminder of the power of bearing witness' - Joanna Berendt, New York Times
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.
“At a moment when basic agreement over simple truths has become a political battleground and history a weapon, the publication of the book, Renia’s Diary, offers a reminder of the power of bearing witness”
Joanna Berendt, New York Times
“Extraordinary... It is a privilege to read these pages, and an impertinence to review them. Renia Spiegel was an astonishingly brave girl who developed into a remarkable young woman. (5* review)”
Frances Wilson, Daily Telegraph
“Astonishing... A new invaluable contribution to Holocaust literature”
Robin Shulman, Smithsonian Magazine
“It is as though the murderous machine of Hitler's vision and the barbarity being brought upon her people couldn't silence the integrity of her voice... Renia emerges as a poet of real lyricism and emotional heft, which makes her demise all the more tragic”
Hilary A. White, Irish Independent
“Recall[s] moments of intense happiness in the gathering gloom”
Will Pavia, Times
“A work which shows us that the worst atrocities of the twentieth century did not happen overnight, they happened slowly and painfully against the backdrop of the lives and loves of ordinary people”
Andrew McMillan, author of physical and playtime
“Simultaneously devastating and astounding... incredible”
“A terribly poignant work that conveys the brutal reality of the time through intimate connection with a young person”
“Moving [and] riveting... this epic, layered story of survival serves as an important Holocaust document”