Miriam Korber was a young Jewish girl who had grown up with her family in Romania. Since Germany did not occupy Romania during the war, Miriam should have been safe from the type of persecution inflicted on Jews by the Nazis. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Romania was an ally of Nazi Germany and carried out anti-Jewish policies of its own. Miriam and her family were deported from their home to a ghetto area in the city of Djurin in Transnistria. This region had been part of Ukraine, but fell under Romanian control after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. For Miriam, it was like being sent into exile, but without the benefit of escaping her persecutors.
In her diary, Miriam recorded the tremendous struggles that her family faced. Hunger, sickness and cold were constant afflictions. On September 3, 1943 she wrote about another common problem – confusion. Reliable news was difficult to obtain, and people often heard and spread rumors about new developments that might have an impact on the ghetto. One of the most common rumors concerned the possibility of new deportations. Usually this would be bad news, but the new buzz was that some people might be allowed to go back to their homes in Romania proper. No one knew what to believe. Miriam wrote, “General unrest. Since morning, one lie after another. Now we leave, now we don’t, lists of people, new lists. Nobody knows. Everybody offers his opinion, which shortly after turns into a new lie. People are worried. In the afternoon it is said that we’ll leave for sure, but no one knows to where. At six in the evening, Dr. Katz, the president of the Committee, calls a meeting. People are nervous. Immediately any illusion is shattered. We aren’t going anywhere now. We are all disoriented. The majority claims, however, that any denial is actually an affirmation. So who knows?”
As it turned out, Miriam remained in Djurin until she was liberated by the Soviet army. Many Romanian Jews perished in the Holocaust, but Miriam was one of the fortunate ones to survive. Her parents and sisters survived as well.
Miriam Korber’s diary was included in a book entitled, “Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust”. Click here to read more about the Holocaust in Romania.
Miriam’s story was featured in a 2005 MTV documentary entitled, “I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust”. You may read more about Miriam’s life and about the film here.
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Opening Reception: The Scroll of Remembrance
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