Moshe Flinker was a deeply religious young man who began keeping a diary at the age of sixteen. He wrote, at least in part, in protest of the persecution he experienced as a Jew following the occupation of his country by Nazi Germany. He thought seriously about the nature of God and justice, using his writing to explore the possibility that his suffering might have a greater purpose. He anticipated miraculous deliverance from Nazi tyranny, but grew disappointed and weary with the wait. He wrote less frequently as he began to lose hope.
On July 4 1943, Moshe seemed to reach his lowest point. After two weeks of silence he wrote, “All I have is hope; my entire being depends on it. And at the same time I have nothing. What will these useless hopes bring me? I don’t know what to do. Everything is becoming hollow. Formerly, when I took up my Bible and read it, it was as if I had returned to life, as if the Lord had taken pity on me; even in my darkest moments I found consolation in him. Now even this is denied me, all seems lifeless, it does not enthuse me.”
The destructive nature of Nazi persecution was not only expressed in dramatic acts of violence. It was also apparent in the gradual erosion of hope that came after weeks and months of relentless fear and deprivation. Moshe’s experience demonstrated that the need for optimism was every bit as urgent as the need for food and shelter. He struggled to hang onto hope, but reality was working against him.
Moshe did not survive the Holocaust, but his diary stands as a testament to the fierce struggle of a young man to maintain his faith and to live a worthy life, even under the most impossible circumstances. Moshe’s death should not be seen as a failure of his faith or spirit, but rather as a crime committed by the Nazis against an innocent person.
Excerpts from Moshe Flinker’s diary have been published in a book entitled, “Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust” by Alexandra Zapruder.
You may read more from Moshe’s diary here.
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