Otto Wolf's Diary Entries on Life in Hiding during the Holocaust

Entries from the diary of Otto Wolf, in which Wolf describes daily life in hiding during the Holocaust.

June 24, 1942.  Wednesday, first week.

At 4:14 A.M., we look for a stable hideout and manage to locate one. It is in thick bushes, so that we can’t even sit up in there, just lie down. At five, Lici [Felicitas] and I go get some water at the spring by the forest. Only then do we lie down to sleep and sleep until eleven, bothered by hundreds of ants. Dad is cooking the first warm meal in two days: soup and meat with bread. [. . .] In the afternoon, we lie down again with the ants, and stay down until evening, and then have eggs and bread for dinner. We are waiting for Slávek. He does not come until eleven, but without the backpacks. He stays with us until 4 A.M., then goes home.

June 25, 1942. Thursday, first week.

At quarter after five, we go for water, then put away things from the backpacks. Right afterward, we have breakfast of warm coffee and then sleep until 10 A.M. Dad is improving the camouflage on our hideout: he cuts down two small trees with his pocket knife and uses them to hide the entrance well. Lunch consists of soup and rabbit with bread. In the afternoon, Dad cuts off all my hair and then, for the first time in his life, he shaves off his beard. We can’t recognize him. [. . .] Slávek does not come, and no one seems be looking for us yet. [. . .]

July 4, 1942. Saturday, 2nd week.

We fetch water at half past four, then lie quietly until eight. We have bread and black coffee for breakfast. We have practically no kerosene or bread left. We have no idea why Slávek has not come. We have bread and bacon for lunch. That is the last of our bread, and it’s only noon. We have no idea what to eat in the evening or the next morning. In the evening, we have boiled beans softened in water and boiled just a little, because we have no kerosene left Slávek did not come.

August 25, 1942. Tuesday, 10th week.

We go at half past four in the morning and then we have breakfast of coffee and bread. We then take a nap. At eight we start snapping beans. As soon as we finish our lunch of garlic soup and bread, we continue with the beans. We are done at 2 P.M. We have a tidy pile of them. Dad puts them on the roof of the hut [a makeshift shed in the forest] to dry. In the afternoon, something scares us terribly. We hear a noise in the hut and assume that someone had found the beans on the roof and is pawing them. Later we found out that some man had merely put some fresh chaff into the hut. We were really scared at the time. In the evening we have dinner of bread with jam and then sleep a little and the take off at quarter past ten to pick up food. But apart from some trifles there is no kerosene at the drop-off point, and we are almost out. Dad is the angriest because of it: he doesn’t sleep one bit during the night. We don’t know what we will cook and eat.1


[1] Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, 2nd edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015) 130-131.
Soviet Union

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