March 14, 1942 - Unknown Girl
March 14, 1942
Lodz Ghetto in Poland
The Diary of an Unknown Girl
One of the most moving personal accounts from the Holocaust is a brief fragment of a diary written by an unknown girl from the Lodz Ghetto. Her name was not recorded in any of the entries that survived, but may have been included in the sections that were lost. There are certainly missing parts, since the diary begins and ends in the middle of sentences. At one point, the writer copied a note into her diary that began, “Dear Esterka and Minia”. One of these may have been her name, but this is only speculation. The diary, at least the part that survived, covered a three week period of time from February 27th to March 18th, 1942.
ISOLATION IN THE GHETTO
The Lodz Ghetto was the most isolated ghetto in German-occupied territory. The people confined within had less contact with the outside world, fewer food resources, and less information than just about any other group of oppressed Jews. Though most of this girl’s observations deal with hunger and the fear of deportation, she recognized that her imprisonment was the root cause of these problems. On March 14th, she wrote, “O freedom! Will I have to stay behind this barbed-wire forever? Will that sign be on that big board forever [Entering Jewish residential area forbidden]? Will there always be a booth with a German guard who has a rifle on his shoulder? Has it always been like this? Will it stay like this? Oh, no! But who is going to live through it? I miss freedom.”
“O freedom! Will I have to stay behind this barbed-wire forever?”
The first complete sentence recorded in this fragment of a diary stated, “There is no justice in the world, not to mention in the ghetto.” The writer recognized that her unjust imprisonment was the beginning of a train of misery and deprivation that was leading toward death. Though she longed for liberation, she wrote “They treat us worse than slaves. Is this life? Isn’t death better?” Sadly, it is almost certain that this young girl perished and that her longing for freedom went unfulfilled.
You may read the surviving entries from this diary in Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.
Learn more about the Lodz Ghetto.