May 30, 1944 - Eva Heyman


May 30, 1944



The Diary of Eva Heyman

Eva Heyman’s diary is very brief. This is not because she had little to say, but rather because she had only a short time to write. Eva lived in Hungary, the last country to be occupied by Germany during World War II. Eva began writing on March 18th, 1944, just after the invasion of the German army. Her last entry was written only ten weeks later on May 30th.  Shortly thereafter, she and her family were deported. 

A long journey

Eva’s family was politically active and well-informed about the persecution of Jews in other places that had earlier fallen under Nazi rule. Eva had no doubt about the Nazis’ murderous intent and that deportation most certainly meant death. On May 29th she wrote, “And so, dear diary, the end of everything has really come. The Ghetto has been divided up into blocks and we’re all going to be taken away from here.” She continued on the next day to pour out her thoughts on the current crisis. “Dear diary, everybody says we’re going to stay in Hungary; the Jews from all over the country are being brought to the Lake Balaton area and we are going to work there. But I don’t believe it. That train wagon is probably awful. They stuffed eighty people into that wagon [yesterday] and all they gave them was one pail of water for that many people.  But what is even more awful is that they bolt the wagons. In this terrible heat, we will suffocate in there! All I know is that I don’t believe in anything anymore, all I think about is Marta, and I’m afraid that what happened to her is going to happen to us, too.”

Eva refused to be comforted by false rumors that her community would be spared. The idea they would be sent as workers to another part of Hungary did not seem credible to her in light of what she had already witnessed. It is hard for a reader today to understand how such a young girl had lost all hope. Her faith in the future had been replaced with cynicism and fear, but she was correct in her assessment of the situation. The true destination of the deportation was Auschwitz.

Excerpts from Eva Heyman’s diary may be found in Children in the Holocaust and World War II: Their Secret Diaries by Laurel Holliday.

You may learn more about the fate of the Hungarian Jews.