Diary Entry on Deportation from the Łódź Ghetto, August 3, 1944

Entry from the diary of an anonymous boy from August 3, 1944, in which he reflects on his impending deportation from the Łódź ghetto.

3/8  1944 [in English]

I write these lines in a terrible state of mind—we have, all of us, to leave Litz. Getto during a few days. When I first heard of it I was sure that this mean[t] the end of our unheard of martyrdom equatanously [together] with our lives, for we were sure that we should be “vernichtet” [annihilated] in the well known way of theirs. People were regretting that they didn’t die on the first day of the war. What for to have suffered five years of “ausrottungsKampf” [war of extermination]. Couldn’t they give us the “coup de grâce” in the very beginning?

But evidently some pressure on the part of the victorious allies must have had some effect on the brigands and they become more lenient—and [Hans] Biebow, the German Getto Chief, held a speech for the Jews—the essence of which was that this time they are not to be afraid of being dealt with in the same way all the other outsettled have been — because of a change in war conditions “und damit das Deutsche Reich den Krieg gewinnt, hat unser Führer befohlen jede Arbeitshand auszunützen” [and in order that the German Reich should win, our Führer  has ordered to use every worker.] Evidently! The only right which entitle[s] us to live under the same sky with Germans—though to live as the lowest slaves, is the privilege of working for their victory, working much! and eating nothing. Really, they are even more abominable in their diabolic cruelty than any human mind could follow.  He further said, “Wenn Zwang angewendet werden muss, dann überlebt niemand!” [If force has to be used, no one will survive!] He asked the crowd (Jewish) if they are ready to work faithfully for the Reich and every one answered “Jahwohl!” [Yes, indeed!]—I thought about the abjectedness of such as situation! What sort of people are the Germans that they managed to transform us into such low, crawling creatures, as to say “Jahwohl.” Is life really so worthy? Is it not better not [to] live in a world where there are 80 millions of Germans? O, [is] it not a shame to be a man on the same earth as the Ger-man? Oh! shabby, miserable human, your meanness will always surpass your importance!

When I look on my little sister, my heart is melting. Hasn’t the child suffered its [her] part? She, who fought so heroically the last five years? When I look on your cozy little room, tidied up by the young, intelligent, poor being, I am getting saddened by the thought that soon she and I will have to leave our last particle of home! When I come across trifling objects which had a narrow escape all the time — I am sad on the thought of parting with them - for they, the companions of our misery, became endeared to me. Now we have to leave our home. What will they do with our sick? With our old? With our young? Oh, God in heaven, why didst thou create Germans to destroy humanity? I don’t even know if I shall be allowed to be together with my sister! I cannot write more, I am terribly resigned and black spirited!1


[1] Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, 2nd edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015) 393–94.

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