February 16, 1942 – Miriam Korber
February 16, 1942
The Diary of Miriam Korber
Miriam Korber lived with her family in Bukovina, a province of Romania. During World War II, her family was deported to Transnistria by the Romanian government, which was allied with Nazi Germany and had similar anti-Jewish policies. The conditions under which the deportees traveled were harsh. Miriam’s grandparents were also forced to leave, but they were only able to make part of the journey. Due to their advanced age, they were left behind in Mogilev along with many other elderly Jews. Miriam was very close to her grandparents and wrote about them with sorrow on February 16th, 1942.
“For what sins did they have to die so alone?”
“Our grandparents died. They reached the end of their lives one after the other in Mogilev. Mother was the first to read the letter and from her expression I knew everything also. Poor Dad, he withstood much better than I thought the hard blow of fate. He wept silently and he carries the mourning in his heart silently. Tears came to my eyes as well, and my heart was heavy as I thought about their sad death. I am not crying because they died, death is everyone’s fate and they lived their lives fully; they were over eighty years old. I am crying for them because they died in Mogilev, far away from their home, from their clean bed, from the fruits of their long labor of many dozen years, far from everything they left behind at the mercy of fate.”
Miriam went on to record some of her precious memories of her grandparents. She recalled their love and the joy she experienced in their home. Later in her diary entry she asked, “For what sins did they have to die so alone?” This was the great question for many of the Jewish people who suffered at this time. They were being punished simply because they had been born Jewish. On a rational level, they knew that they had done nothing wrong. Still, it was emotionally painful to believe in a world so unjust as to allow the crime of the Holocaust to occur.
Miriam Korber’s diary was included in a book entitled, Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust.
Read more about the Holocaust in Romania.