“At night, we will be led to Treblinka. It’s the last time I see the blue sky.” A copy of a rare diary from the Holocaust was presented on Thursday to President Shimon Peres at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum.
The document was published in honor of the 70th anniversary of the “January uprising,” which took place at the Warsaw Ghetto and served as the first significant act of resistance against the Nazis.
During the ceremony the president referred to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which erupted in April 1943, as “one of the Jewish people’s greatest acts of bravery.” He added that he was “overwhelmed by the inconceivable courage.”
The diary’s author, a Jewish lawyer born in 1906, describes routine life in the Warsaw Ghetto:
“The body of a woman shot last night by a Ukrainian is lying in one of the halls. Her four-year-old son crawls next to her body. He touches his mother’s bleeding body and pulls her hair. Her stiffness amuses him. He pushes a finger into her half open mouth, touches the glazed eyes that cannot see. Suddenly he starts crying. A pitiful cry.”
After a selection process at Umschlagplatz, the Warsaw square where Jews gathered for deportation to the concentration camps, the writer was sent to Treblinka in April 1943. His fate remains unknown.
Ahead of the move to Treblinka, he wrote in his diary:
“I look at the clear sky of the month of April. At night we will be led to Treblinka. When the dawn breaks, I will no longer be alive. It’s a simple calculation – this is the last time I see the blue sky between the clouds.”
Of his murdered family he wrote:
“April 19, 1943. In a week I will be 37 years old. Oh, well, what difference does it make? I am told that my mother has been shot. I’m not shocked. She suffered for nine months, surviving the death of her daughter, the death of her husband and the need to hide in stinking and suffocating holes.
“I suddenly realize that I wasn’t sensitive enough towards her, that the ghetto robbed me of my softness and sensitivity, and that the cruelty controlling everything has been absorbed into me like x-rays.”
The 28-page diary, which was written in Polish, arrived at Ghetto Fighters’ House in the 1970s and was kept in the archives for years, waiting to be translated and interpreted.
Segments from another diary were also read during the ceremony. It was written by an anonymous fighter, who according to archives sources belonged to the Jewish Combat Organization or the revisionist Jewish Military Union.
The fighter’s diary describes the construction of bunkers and the preparations of the resistance forces which fought the Nazis.
“Wednesday, April 28, 1943. The 10th day in the bunker. The bombings and shooting have stopped. And the people are bathing, handing out coffee and cooking food. Everything is being done quietly, in complete silence, and in accordance with the instructions of the bunker leader. We must survive. We are fighting for justice and for the right to live.”
These two documents are part of the collection of Adolf Avraham Berman, who was a resistance activist and courageously collected pieces of information during the war, together with his wife Batya.
The two kept the collection after the war until they arrived in Israel, where they handed the documents to the museum. The diary has been posted on the museum’s website to allow free access to the wide public.