Yitskhok Rudashevski's Diary Entry on a Celebration in the Vilna Ghetto, March 14, 1943

An entry from the diary of Yitskhok Rudashevski from March 14, 1943, in which he describes a celebration in the Vilna Ghetto.

Sunday the 14th of March [1943]

Today the Yehoash celebration as well as the opening of the Yehoash exhibition took place in the club. The exhibition is exceptionally beautiful. The entire reading room in the club is filled with material. The room is bright and clean. It is a delight to come into it. We are indebted for the exhibition to Friend Sutzkever, who smuggled into the ghetto from the YIVO where he works a great deal of material for the Yehoash exhibition . [. . .]

People entering here forgot that this is the ghetto. Here in the Yehoash exhibition we have many valuable documents that now are treasures: manuscripts from Peretz to Yehoash, Yehoash’s original letters.1 We have rare newspaper clippings. In the section--Bible translations into Yiddish--we have old Bible translations into Yiddish from the seventeenth century. Looking at the exhibition, at our work, our hearts swell with enthusiasm. We actually forget that we are in a dark ghetto. The celebration today was also carried out in a grand manner. The dramatic circle presented Yehoash’s tableau, Saul. The members read essays on the writings of Yehoash, on Yehoash the poet, on beauty, sound, and color.

The mood of the celebration was an exalted one. It was indeed a holiday, a demonstration on behalf of Yiddish literature and culture.2


  • 1 : Peretz is a reference to I.L. Peretz (Isaac Leib Peretz, 1852-1915) a prominent Yiddish poet, writer and cultural figure from Russia and Poland.
  • 2 : Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, 2nd edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015) 223.


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