My friend Liv tipped me off to this wonderful writer, Ruth Maier, who kept a diary as a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Austria. She later fled to Norway, which turned out to be a bad move. In the fall of 1942, she and 500 other Jews in Oslo were sent to Aushwitz, where she was later killed. She was all of 22.
The diaries were turned into a book and there is an English translation that I plan to purchase. Her writing is lyrical. Even though she is writing under and about such horrible circumstances, I find I can’t stop reading her words. They’re beautiful. Mesmerizing. Here’s a snippet from the article my friend Liv sent me that was in today’s Haaretz Daily:
“How lovely to walk the streets, just to look and walk. To wander around, hands in pockets, and enjoy life. People playing a hand organ. A grandmother babysitting her grandson and waiting for his mother … At that moment I thought: This boy, with the smooth, happy, innocent face, was born to shoot other people to death … This boy, with the soft wrinkle-free face, they will incite to murder and blood. And this boy will be killed by a shell, and at the time of his death will cry out for his mother. It was so clear. All of a sudden.”