Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lens and Legacy: Finding Others Who Wrote War and Occupation Diaries; Museums, Other Voices

 Petr Ginz and other War Diarists

 Slovakia, Bojnice Castle

War pocks.

 Bullet holes on buildings. Still throughout much of Europe. Here, at Bojnice, Slovakia, see ://

We are interested in the lives of people who lived through or during those conditions. Here is an overview of their voices from their diaries, and where you might find them:

1. Berlin: the Jewish Museum. Voices.

At this exhibit, the voices of people are heard symbolically, becoming audible through the action of your own feet in stepping through the clanking iron representing them;  in an exhibit offering a long corridor (this is a participation museum), where the end not visible. It is an artwork, called "Shalechet," or "Fallen Leaves," see :// Do an Images search for "Fallen Leaves" - one is there.

Step in, start down the windowless hall, and suddenly become aware of the clink and shuffle, louder as you get echoes, as you step on and over and through piles of iron heavy rings-circles, with openings for different facial expressions, down and down that long corridor that increases the clanging sound. Some people kick one or two, then look around to see if anyone noticed. And duck out, disoriented.

We humans are frightening in how we follow a leader. Start with a tiptoe or slide, so carefully. Then see how, if some in the exhibit is quiet, everybody stops at once, or if one gets loud, others do. The sounds. The voices clang even sigh if you go softly. Amazing. See Germany Road Ways.

2. Diaries - For long link addresses here, open another internet window, copy enough of the address to get you to the home page at each site, then maneuver until you get to the inner site.

2.1. Overview. "Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust," by Alexandra Zapruder, see the Google book at,M1
and selections at$File/Salvaged+Pages.pdf

Read about Alexandra Zabruder at

2.2. The Netherlands: "Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943," Introduction by J.G.Gaarlandt, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans, Triad-Panther 1983; now in Google book form at

Etty Hillesum was in her 20's when she wrote. The material contains some adult-oriented matters. She died in Auschwitz in 1943, was born in 1915. See also "An Interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum," 1941-1943, see for some quotations. I am not sure if the content of these listed books differ.

Frank - already well known. A search for her name brings up her diary also from Amsterdam. See The Netherlands Road Ways, Anne Frank, Etty Hillesum.

2.3. Serbia. "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo," 1991-1993 by Zlata Filipovic, who was about 11 at the time that she wrote. See

2.4. Czech Republic (in addition to those included in #1) Eva Ginzova, the birth name of Petr Ginz' sister, now Chava Pressburger. See She includes entries from her own diary in "The Diary of Petr Ginz 1941-1942."

2.5. Czech Republic - other work by Petr Ginz: Read "Mad Augustus" at

2. 6. Rutka's Notebook, Poland. See Poland Road Ways, Rutka's Notebook

Electronic diaries, current wars and occupations - so many. Search for more. Put in the country or territory, and "war diary."

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