February 26, 1942 – Anonymous Girl
February 26, 1942
Lodz Ghetto in Poland
The Diary of an Anonymous Girl
“There is no justice in the world, not to mention in the ghetto.” These famous words were penned as a description of the Lodz Ghetto, but the author’s name and identity are unknown to this day. This diary must have been written on pages that were removed from a larger notebook, because the part that remained both began and ended in the middle of sentences. The diary contained one entry per day covering a period of three weeks. The first dated entry was written on February 27th, 1942, so the fragment that preceded it must have been from February 26th. The only clue to the possible identity of the author is that the diary contains a note that had been copied in that began, “Dear Esterka and Minia.” Perhaps one of these two names belonged to the writer, but this is not certain.
STARVATION IN THE GHETTO
The writer had two main concerns on her mind at the time she composed her February 26th entry. One was hunger and the other was the deportation of some of the ghetto’s residents. About the deportations, she wrote, “I’m very upset about the whole situation, because how can you be indifferent to so much suffering? How can you watch indifferently when they deport people you know, the sick, the elderly, and the children?” The reason these people were the main targets for deportation was that they were not able to work in the ghetto workshops. Since they were unemployed, they often received no food rations. Malnutrition was already a big problem in the ghetto, so missing rations could be a death sentence. Some of the ghetto leaders believed that they could save some people (productive workers) by sacrificing others (non-workers) to the deportations.
“How can you watch indifferently when they deport people you know, the sick, the elderly, and the children?”
Food was the main obsession of the diary writer. She wrote frequently of unbearable hunger. She described ghetto life as, “A struggle against death from starvation.” She went on to add, “And now we are under a sentence of death from starvation and are at the mercy of fortune.” One of the saddest features of this diary is that the writer frequently blamed herself for weakness in the face of overwhelming hunger. She criticized herself bitterly when she lost her willpower and ate her meager rations all at once instead of saving some for later. She may have been hard on herself, but we can realize that the blame belongs to the German occupiers and their inhumane Nazi policies.
The diary of the “Anonymous Girl” is published in Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.
You may learn more about the Lodz Ghetto.