Dawid Rubinowicz was a twelve year-old Jewish boy from Krajno, Poland. He began keeping a diary only a few months after the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II in Europe. Dawid’s diary demonstrates that people tried to continue to live their normal lives, even as they were radically impacted by the war and the German occupation.
Dawid’s father was a dairy farmer and, as such, was very sensitive to the impact of the weather on the family’s fortunes. He undoubtedly passed this understanding on to his son. It is not surprising to read Dawid commenting on the weather as an important topic in his diary. What is surprising is that he wrote about it intermixed with his reporting about another event, the German invasion of the Soviet Union that had just begun a few days earlier. Clearly, these two topics seem unrelated. In fact, the latter was so important that it would eventually mark the turning point in the war. In comparison, a weather report seems trivial. Nevertheless, on July 29th Dawid wrote, “Today you don’t seem to hear the shots anymore, only thundering from time to time. There’s a cloud coming up from the north that may produce rain. Human beings are thirsting for it and so are all living plants. The cloud came and the longed-for rain. It rained for over an hour, a bit too little for the parched earth.”
What should a modern reader make of such an odd juxtaposition of topics as Dawid has given us in this entry? Perhaps it reveals that the mundane concerns of life did not disappear just because life-changing events were happening in the political world. On the other hand, he may have linked in his mind two events that would have an impact on his life over which he had no control. Or perhaps, he wrote of a longing for rain that was fulfilled because there were so many other desires, such as for peace and safety, that were far out of reach.
You may read excerpts from Dawid’s diary in by Alexandra Zapruder.
Read another diarist’s account of the German occupation of Poland here.
April 1, 2016
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