Renia Spiegel was born in Poland and at the age of 18 died by a gunshot to the head for being Jewish. She died a victim of the Holocaust. Between the ages of 15 to 18, Renia kept a diary. It took over 50 years for her 700 pages of diary to find its way to her sister Ariana (Elizabeth as she is now known as). And now it has found its way to us.
In her diary Renia not only chronicles her struggles, but the helplessness of her family and friends who endured as well. Renia kept a record of her daily activities, going to school, arguments with friends, parties, types of stories written by any teenager, but she also kept her deepest secrets, her thoughts, her prayers, her loves, her fears and her dreams for the future in there as well. She called her diary her best friend.
She chronicles the beginning of the German’s and Russian’s taking over Poland. She writes about her mother who is in Warsaw and is unable to be with her. She heartbreakingly to ends her passages with words to her mother. She desperately held on to thoughts of seeing her again and hoping she was still alive. She writes about her one and only love Zygmund. In one passage she dreams of having children with her future husband and how God has been so good to her. She is such an old soul who witnessed horror no one. let alone a child should see and hear.
Renia writes about hearing gunshots outside and knowing someone has died, of hearing bombs, of her house being raided by the Nazi’s and her grandfather paying them off to give them a little more time…
Her diary is also filled with beautiful poems. She wrote incredible prose for such a young age they could rival any adult author’s compositions of today.
Her words are so profound and meaningful. One can only wonder who Renia would have become if she had lived. I must say I was honored to read this diary which I believe is an incredible historical document.
I am so grateful to #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #Renia’sDiary for the advanced copy. The book will be out on September 24.