Eva Ginzova is one of the few teenage diarists from the Holocaust to have had a sibling who also wrote. Petr Ginz, her brother, was a prolific author and artist in his own right. Eva was proud of his education and his accomplishments. He appears as a subject in many of her diary entries and it is clear that his well-being was as important to her as her own.
Eva was younger than Petr, and it is obvious that she looked up to him. Because he was older, he had been sent to the Theresienstadt “camp-ghetto” two years earlier. When she arrived, she discovered that Petr had already established a reputation among his peers. On August 16, 1944 she wrote, “When I arrived, one girl asked me whether Petr was my brother, and said that he was the most intelligent boy from the heim [children’s home]. I was very pleased and very proud of him.”
Petr’s presence in Theresienstadt was a great comfort to Eva, but one that would not last. On September 28, 1944, they were separated when Petr was sent to Auschwitz. After the war was long over, Eva wrote one last entry in her diary. It was the heartbroken observation that Petr had not come home. Eva survived the Holocaust, Petr did not.
Eva’s diary reminds us that no one lives apart from the influences of others. Our parents, siblings, and friends help to make us who we are. Their lives and legacies stay with us as long as we live. One of the greatest crimes of the Holocaust was the splitting of families, especially when murder made the separation permanent.
Read more about Theresienstadt (Terezin) at this website.
To learn more about Eva Ginzova (now Chava Pressberger), her career as an artist, and the publication of her brother’s diary, you can visit her website.
November 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM
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