The Polish Anne Frank

The Fellowship  |  September 12, 2019

Renia Spiegel
Renia Spiegel

Through the years, the world learned has learned much about the Holocaust thanks to the secret diary of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who spent years of the Holocaust in hiding in Amsterdam before being arrested and killed by the Nazis. But Anne wasn’t the only Holocaust victim to document her experiences in real time. The final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary showed her faith, even in her darkest hour:

My dear diary, my good, beloved friend! We’ve gone through such terrible times together and now the worst moment is upon us. I could be afraid now. But the One who didn’t leave us then will help us today too. He’ll save us. Hear, O, Israel, save us, help us.

CNN’s Gianluca Mezzfiore tells us about this Jewish girl in Poland who was murdered by the Nazis in 1942, but whose own diary will certainly add to the story of the Holocaust after spending 70 years locked away:

For almost 70 years, the secret Holocaust diary of the Polish Jewish teenager Renia Spiegel was sealed away in a New York bank vault.

Shot dead by the Nazis just as she reached adulthood in 1942, Renia’s story was too painful for her surviving sister and mother to read.

Now, Renia’s Diary: A Young Girl’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust is finally to be published by her family. And it is already drawing comparisons to the diary of Anne Frank for its clarity and skillful writing…

The girl lived in Przemysl, south-east Poland, which was under Soviet occupation until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

The diary, almost 700 pages, begins in January 1939 when Renia was 15 and chronicles her escape from bombing raids in her hometown, the disappearance of other Jewish families and the creation of the ghetto.

Renia and her sister Elizabeth (nee Ariana) got separated from their mother, who was on the German side during the war. Almost every entry of the diary ends with “God and Bulus will save me,” using the girl’s pet name for her mother…