April 8, 1945 - Dawid Sierakowiak
April 8, 1945
Lodz Ghetto in Poland
The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak
Dawid Sierakowiak wrote one of the most extensive and insightful diaries kept by any person during the Holocaust and World War II era. The fact that he was a Jewish teenager in the Lodz Ghetto, writing from a position of poverty and deprivation, made his work even more incredible. Though some sections of the diary were lost, the parts that were found yield valuable insights into the conditions faced by Jews struggling to survive the German occupation of Poland.
There is still nothing to eat
On April 7th and 8th in 1942, Dawid noticed a bitter contrast between the beauty of the coming spring and the ugliness of his personal situation and that of his fellow ghetto sufferers. He wrote, “Today was the most lovely spring day. On such a day, the poverty and hopelessness of the ghetto situation can be seen in all its ‘splendor.’ As though out of spite, there is no encouraging news from the outside, no ‘action’ in the world. It looks like everything has become bogged down for ages to come. For us at least.”
“It looks like everything has become bogged down for ages to come.”
One of the main problems in the Lodz Ghetto was lack of food. Dawid began his diary entry on the 7th by observing, “No rations or hope for anything to eat.” He continued on the same theme the next day. He wrote, “A lovely, warm day again. There are still no rations, and the soup at the workshop is becoming more and more watery. Vegetables are supposedly arriving, but nothing is distributed. No one knows what will happen. Tomorrow we will finally receive bread. I have almost forgotten that such food exists. But I have not forgotten hunger.”
Lack of food was the constant preoccupation of the ghetto residents. Chaim Rumkowski, the Nazi-appointed Jewish leader of the ghetto, inspected the kitchens, supposedly to get to the bottom of the situation. He even gave speeches on the subject, but Dawid doubted that anything would change for the better. Uncertainty may have been part of ghetto life in other areas, but not where food was concerned. He finished his entry on the 8th by writing, “There are constant changes everywhere, but nothing is improving and there is nothing to eat.”
Joseph Zelkowicz, another resident of the Lodz Ghetto, also wrote about the about the problem of starvation.
Listen to an excerpt of an oral history interview by a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto, Leo Schneiderman, on the subject of starvation.