Heartbreaking secret diary of ‘Polish Anne Frank’ murdered by Nazis to finally be published after lying in bank vault for 70 years

Heartbreaking secret diary of ‘Polish Anne Frank’ murdered by Nazis to finally be published after lying in bank vault for 70 years

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A LONG-LOST Holocaust diary by a Polish Jewish teenager who has been compared to Anne Frank is to be published after lying unread for nearly 70 years.

Renia’s Diary: A Young Girl’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust is being released after it was found in a bank vault. 

Renia's Diary: A Young Girl's Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust reveals the horrors of Nazi occupied Poland
Renia’s Diary: A Young Girl’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust reveals the horrors of Nazi occupied Poland
Penguin Books
Renia's Diary chronicles the invasion of Poland and the round up of Jews
Renia’s Diary chronicles the invasion of Poland and the round up of Jews
Facebook/Renia Spiegel
She was only 18 when she was shot dead
She was only 18 when she was shot dead
Facebook/Renia Spiegel

Renia Spiegel’s journal run to almost 700 pages, beginning from January 1939 and ends she was murdered by German troops in July 1942 after she was discovered hiding in an attic. 

For obvious reasons the book has been compared to the diary of Anne Frank who also was forced to hide from the Nazis but was eventually found and sent to a death camp where she died. 

Renia, was from Przemysl, south-east Poland, wrote about her life as a teenager with school, friends and family frequent subjects. 

‘I DON’T WANT TO DIE, I’M SCARED OF DEATH’

Her sister Elizabeth told the BBC: “She was very intelligent. 

“She was the head of the literary programme in her school. And she was very, very kind and always thoughtful.”

But after the German invasion of September 1 1939 when she was 15, the pages of her diary laid bare the diabolical reality of Nazi occupation.

This included air raids and being forced to go into hiding as Jews were rounded and sent to ghettos as Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” unfolded. 

Extracts from the diary

Entry – 7 June 7, 1942

Wherever I look, there is bloodshed.

Such terrible pogroms. There is killing, murdering.

God Almighty, for the umpteenth time I humble myself in front of you, help us, save us!

Lord God, let us live, I beg You, I want to live!

I’ve experienced so little of life.

I don’t want to die. I’m scared of death.

It’s all so stupid, so petty, so unimportant, so small. Today I’m worried about being ugly; tomorrow I might stop thinking forever.

Entry – July 15, 1942

Remember this day; remember it well.

You will tell generations to come.

Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now.

The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world.


Poignantly she wrote about falling in love with a Jewish lad called Zygmunt Schwarzer and how they kissed for the first time just hours before the Nazis reached her hometown.

Zygmunt wrote the heartbreaking final passage in the book after her murder.

He was to wind up in Auschwitz but survived and became a doctor in the US army.

In 1950, he found Renia’s sister Elizabeth and mother Róża had survived the war and were living in New York, so he gave them the diary. 

Because the book made them so upset they stored it in a bank vault until it was found and translated in 2012.

The book will go on sale in the UK on September 19.

German Army Police confiscate goods found in the house of a Polish Jew in 1941
German Army Police confiscate goods found in the house of a Polish Jew in 1941
Hulton Archive – Getty
Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto surrender to German soldiers after a failed uprising
Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto surrender to German soldiers after a failed uprising
Hulton Archive – Getty
Polish men (left) watch helplessly as a Nazi firing squad picks their fellow prisoners off methodically, from right to left
Polish men (left) watch helplessly as a Nazi firing squad picks their fellow prisoners off methodically, from right to left
Corbis – Getty


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