Rutka’s Notebook

Rutka's Notebook
£11.75
January-April 1943                                            
Rutka Laskier, Managing Editor: Daniella Zaidman-Mauer                                            
(2007) ISBN: 0-9764425-7-4, Cat. No. 474          72 pp., soft cover, 14X21 cm.

 

“I have a feeling that I’m writing for the last time. There is an Aktion in town. I’m not allowed to go out and I’m going crazy, imprisoned in my own house… For a few days, something’s in the air… The town is breathlessly waiting in anticipation, and this anticipation is the worst of all. I wish it would end already! This is torment; this is hell. I try to escape from these thoughts, of the next day, but they keep haunting me like nagging flies. If only I could say, it’s over, you only die once… But I can’t, because despite all these atrocities I want to live, and wait for the following day. That means waiting for Auschwitz or labor camp. I must not think about this so now I’ll start writing about private matters.” (February 20, 1943)And so, descriptions of alarming moments are intertwined with private and banal thoughts in the notebook of 14-year-old Rutka Laskier from Będzin, which documented her life during a few months in 1943. The outside world slowly closed down on her, but these few sheets of paper – some 60 handwritten pages in a notebook – reflect the entire universe of an adolescent Jewish girl in the shadow of death. Initial buds of womanhood, first loves, deceptions, friendships, jealousy and disputes are recorded in detail in the midst of deportations, fear, horror and death. These provide not only a moving, humane and historical testimony of Rutka’s life and death, but also represent that of tens of thousands of adolescent boys and girls during the Holocaust.“…its arresting combination of detail… has drawn comparisons to the celebrated diary of Anne Frank.” [Thomas Vinciguerra, The New York Times]