Yitskhok Rudashevski's Diary Entry on Life in the Vilna Ghetto, December 10, 1942

Entry from the diary of Yitskhok Rudashevski from December 10, 1942, his fifteenth birthday, in which he reflects upon his time spent in the Vilna ghetto and his hopes for the future.

Wednesday the 10th of December [1942]

It dawned on me that today is my birthday. Today I became fifteen years old. You hardly realize how time flies. It, the time, runs ahead unnoticed and presently we realize, as I did today, for example, and discover that days and months go by, that the ghetto is not a painful, squirming moment of a dream that constantly disappears, but is a large swamp in which we lose our days and weeks. Today I became deeply absorbed in the thought.  I decided not to trifle my time away in the ghetto on nothing and I feel somehow happy that I can study, read, develop myself, and see that time does not stand still as long as I progress normally with it. In my daily ghetto life it seems to me that I live normally but often I have deep qualms. Surely I could have lived better. Must I day in and day out see the walled-up ghetto gate, must I in my best years see only the one little street, the few stuffy courtyards?

Still other thoughts buzzed around in my head but I felt two things most strongly: a regret, a sort of gnawing. I wish to shout to time to linger, not to run. I wish to recapture my past year and keep it for later, for the new life. My second feeling today is that of strength and hope. I do not feel the slightest despair. Today I became fifteen years of age and I live confident in the future. I am not conflicted about it, and see before me sun and sun and sun. . . .1


  • 1 : Alexandra Zapruder, ed., Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, 2nd edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015) 216-217.


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