The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the Lodz Ghettoby Dawid Sierakowiak
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The surviving diary of Dawid Sierakowiak, a teenager who died in the Lodz Ghetto during World War II, relates with intimate, undefended prose the relentless horror of everyday life in the ghetto, where more than 60,000 Jews perished. 58 photos.
Dawid's bleak record of his life (edited by Adelson, who compiled the definitive history of the Lodz ghetto and produced a documentary film on the subject) almost didn't survive: Two of the seven notebooks that compose the diary were burned for fuel in the winter of 1945, and the Polish government nearly destroyed the remaining volumes in their 1960s campaign to eradicate all vestiges of the Holocaust. Dawid was a dedicated memoirist, setting down facts, dates, rumors, and moods, and his record of the destruction of his community and his own sad struggle to survive make this an invaluable portrait of the progressive exploitation and extermination of Polish Jewry. The diary, which begins in 1939, reveals Dawid to be at first a high-spirited young man, mocking Hitler, flirting in the bomb shelters. But once the Nazis seize Poland, life turns grim. Food, until the war "such an insignificant thing," dominates his thoughts and overshadows his once lively intellectual life. We not only feel the diarist's mind and spirit waning under intense suffering, we experience with Dawid how his parents die, his mother despite her stoicism and his father despite his greed and corruption. The young Marxist is bitterly aware of the ghetto's class system ("the big shots eat"). Despite a job in the ghetto bakery that affords him more life-saving calories, he is too emaciated and exhausted to continue diary entries after April 15, 1943. He succumbs to "ghetto disease" (starvation and tuberculosis) on Aug. 8. The death certificate is the last of the book's 40 striking photos.
In its determined recording of the everyday experience of oppression, Dawid's diary offers a low-key but nonetheless powerful and authentic portrait of ghetto life and death during the Holocaust.
- Oxford University Press
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- NOOK Book
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- 5 MB
Meet the Author
About the Editor:
Alan Adelson has worked for more than ten years compiling and editing the written remnants of the /Lód'z Ghetto. As Executive Director of the Jewish Heritage Project in New York, he produced and co-directed the acclaimed documentary film /Lód'z Ghetto, and with Lucjan Dobroszycki, Robert Lapides, and Marek Web, he compiled and edited the volume "/Lód'z Ghetto: Inside a Community Under Siege." Kamil Turowski provided the English translation.
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