Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jarmila’s Diary

"I pray every night. I believe in God. But nobody knows about it. With a heavy heart I showed my first and second entry in my diary, but I’ll never show the third one. But I have to return to what I want to write about. So, I believe in God. My teacher influenced me. Not only me, but the entire class. Before the first session, just before school starts, we pray. That would be nothing. She mentions God frequently, and many girls now believe. I am not attending Religion classes, but I can still believe in God. I pray every night (in the morning I do not have time to pray). At first I wanted to hide it since in our family nobody believes in God except our German maid whose name is Kristl. She believes in God.
So for now, goodbye my diary, now I am going to read fairy tales. I love to read."

An excerpt from Jarmila’s diary, dated Dec. 31, 1934 (translation by Alice Lutwak):

Czech Holocaust diary given a permanent home in Israel

by Andrew Silow-Carroll in the New Jersey Jewish News

For decades, Alice Lutwak’s family protected two diaries — one leather-bound, the other wrapped in patchwork cloth — written by a young girl in prewar Czechoslovakia. Beginning on Christmas Day 1934 when she was 11, Jarmila Steinova wrote about her grades, school trips, her faith, and the growing menace from Nazi Germany, which inspired her to write a poem: “The Germans with their raised fists are screaming.We are not worried about their threats.”   Eight years later, Jarmila and her family would be deported first to Terezin, and then to Auschwitz. Read more here in this moving article by Andrew Silow-Carroll.

In April 2011, Yad Vashem embarked on an 11th hour rescue operation to collect personal items from the Holocaust era.  Since its inception, the Israeli national "Gathering the Fragments" campaign has received more than 65,000 photographs, documents, works of art, artifacts and other personal items from 4,100 individuals in Israel. The campaign was created to reveal the unique stories that lie behind each obect, and preserve the items themselves for future generations in order to enable researchers, educators and the general public to learn more about the fate of the Jewish individuals and communities destroyed as well as those that survived and thereby ensure that they are not forgotten.

To learn more about donating personal items to the Gathering Fragments Campaign write  

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