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Renia's Diary
Renia's Diary: A Holocaust Journal | Renia Spiegel
5 posts | 6 read | 7 to read
The long-hidden diary of a young Polish woman's last days during the Holocaust, translated for the first time into English, with a foreword from American Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt. Renia Spiegel was a young girl from an upper-middle class Jewish family living on an estate in Stawki, Poland, near what was at that time the border with Romania. In the summer of 1939, Renia and her sister Elizabeth (ne Ariana) were visiting their grandparents in Przemysl, right before the Germans invaded Poland. Like Anne Frank, Renia recorded her days in her beloved diary. She also filled it with beautiful poetry she composed herself. She grew up, fell in love, and survived until 1942, when she was rounded up by the invading Nazis and forced to move to the ghetto in Przemysl with all other Jews. Renia was in the ghetto for two weeks, where she documented the horrors she faced in her diary. On July 28, 1942, her boyfriend, Zygmunt found a hiding place for Renia and his parents in the attic of a three-story tenement house. A day later, Zygmunt took Elizabeth out of the ghetto to stay with the Polish Leszczynski family, where she remained safe. The next day, Renia and Zygmunts parents were discovered hiding in the tenement house. They were murdered in front of the building by Nazis. Zygmunt survived to write the account of their death in her diary, and to finish Renias story. Elizabeth, a child actress once called the Polish Shirley Temple, was brought by the father of the family to reunite with her mother in Warsaw. They lived under the Nazis, only to flee again during the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Eventually they escaped to Austria and got an affidavit of support to come to America, thus Elizabeth lived to tell the tale of their family in Poland who suffered unspeakable tragedy. Elizabeth Bellak now lives in New York City. In Renias Diary, parts of Elizabeths own dramatic tale of survival are intertwined with her sisters heartbreaking story. It contextualizes the more lyrical unfolding of the diary itself and rounds out the story of the diarys survival. Renia's Diary is a significant historical and psychological document. The raw, yet beautiful account depicts Renias angst through recordings of her daily life, and through her original poetry. It has been translated from the original Polish so the world can hear the story of her life and tragic death. For more information about the incredible story of this diary, visit these Smithsonian.com pages: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/astonishing-holocaust-diary-hidden-world-70-years-resurfaced-america-180970534/ https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/hear-o-israel-save-us-renia-spiegel-diary-english-translation-holocaust-poland-180970536/
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review
BookishRedhead
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Pickpick

Omfg. This book.
This is raw!
How do you review a diary?
I hope it will become a classic, it needs to be read by everyone.
What a smart, kind young girl

GingerAntics This is on my TBR/wish list. It sounds like this should be right up there with Night and Anne Frank. 1mo
BookishRedhead @GingerAntics she is being labeled as "the Polish Anne Frank" it should stand next to Anne's 1mo
GingerAntics I‘ve seen that. I definitely think they should be side by side. These two young women who wrote beautiful, first hand accounts of a horrific time in our collective history and only their diaries live to tell the tale. The thought that her boyfriend heard her being shot just breaks my heart. I really need to read this. 1mo
BookishRedhead @GingerAntics definitely. The last few entries are devastating. I rarely cry at books but I lost it at the end. 1mo
GingerAntics Thanks for the warning on that. I seriously think this needs to get moved up my list. 1mo
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Sara_Planz
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This called to me when it came into the store

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xxjenadanxx
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Mehso-so

It's hard to review this bc while it does take place during WWII & the author was Jewish, ultimately its a teenager's diary. Which means endless entries about boys & drama. I felt really bad while reading this because it was hopelessly banal & I found her to be annoying & shallow. For most of the book theres almost no mention of anything happening outside of her relationships, maybe due to escapism, or maybe she was an oblivious teenager in love.

Bookingitalong You have to remember she wrote this with No intention of You or anyone else reading this, so why would she want to focus on the horrible that was happening. She was a terrified, lonely young girl. And haven‘t we all been young and shallow teenagers focused on love? Also it was written in another language where things can be easily lost in translation. This was her life. Not a history book. You literally are reading her thoughts. How can you judge? 2mo
xxjenadanxx @Bookingitalong well that's why it was difficult to review, however I was asked by the publisher to do so, so I had to be honest. There is a much longer review in which I address all that on my Goodreads if you would like to check that out, the link is in my bio. The publishers are literally comparing it to Anne Frank's diary which I think is an injustice for Renia. I also do not think she would have wanted her diary to be published at all. 2mo
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TheSpineView
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I love coming home to #bookmail. I received this lovely ARC today. It is supposed to be like The Diary of Anne Frank. Looking forward to this one! 📚📚📚

bcncookbookclub Sounds lovely! Quite curious to know your impression! 3mo
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Michellekidwell
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Pickpick

Renia much like Anne Frank, used her diary to record her daily life as the Nazi‘s spread throughout Europe. Renia tells of her mundane school life, falling in love with her boyfriend Zygmund, as well as the pain of missing her Mother. They were separated by bombs and invading armies.

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