The secret diary of a teenage Jewish girl who died in the Holocaust is set for publication after spending 70 years in a bank vault.
“Renia’s Diary” was written by Renia Spiegel, who was living in Poland when Nazi Germany and Russia invaded the country in September 1939. Spiegel has been described as “a Polish Anne Frank” as a result of her heartbreaking account.
The Independent reports that Spiegel began writing the diary in January of that year when she was just 14 years old. She was killed three years later by Nazi troops after they discovered her hiding place.
The book, which is already published in Poland, will be published in English this month by Penguin Books.
“When Russia and Germany invade her country, Renia's world shatters. Separated from her mother, her life takes on a new urgency as she flees [the Polish city of] Przemysl to escape night bombing raids, observes the disappearances of other Jewish families and, finally, witnesses the creation of the ghetto,” explains Penguin, on its website. “But alongside the terror of war, there is also great beauty, as she begins to find her voice as a writer and falls in love for the first time.”
“She and the boy she falls in love with, Zygmunt, share their first kiss a few hours before the Nazis reach her hometown,” Penguin adds. “And it is Zygmunt who writes the final, heartbreaking entry in Renia’s diary.”
Penguin notes that the diary was recently rediscovered after 70 years.
The 700-page diary was kept in a bank vault by Spiegel’s younger sister, the New York Post reports. “I still find it difficult to look at,” her sister, Elizabeth Bellak, told the Post last year. “It’s very painful for me.”
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