Family bonds & friendship

Litzmannstadt Getto 13 XII 1943
I miss Abramek, Tamarcia. I love them. I have noticed that I love Cipka more and more, when she does something good, gets good grades (she is the best student), when she understands what happens at the assemblies. It fills me with pride and I feel happy, though not for too long … I’d like so much for everything to be well! Oh! Oh, yes.

Litzmannstadt Getto 24 XII 1943
Oh, to write! … To be able to write, to make pen move on paper! I need to write. […] At this moment, I’m thinking about the passionate emotions. And I’m thinking about Surcia. I feel I love her more and more. Oh, I feel true affection for her. Oh, power of love! Oh, it’s a real power. […] I want to write more, and maybe I’ll express myself. I do feel affection for Surcia. Maybe not for her, but for her soul, which means for her, after all. Oh, Surcia. I take delight in the sound of her name. (It’s good that we are of the same sex.) Otherwise, what would it look like, such writing? I’m completely honest with my diary. But I shouldn’t digress from the subject! She is the only one allowed to read my diary and I’m not embarrassed at all. Oh, I love so few people … So, when I do love somebody, the affection is stronger than in other cases. She and my siblings … Oh, I wish I could have them all with me!!! Every letter, every word she utters is almost sacred. I feel an even stronger bond with her. […] (It was a good idea to bring my diary, a pen and ink to school. Otherwise, nothing would be written.) Oh, words are so empty, they express so little. In my opinion, with words one can only discuss ordinary, common things. Between people who love each other words desecrate everything. Those people can communicate without words. Their souls and eyes can speak, their emotions speak, they can feel … But why I am writing all this? Again, a question without an answer … Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t know Surcia at all? … I don’t know. I can’t imagine it. I can appreciate my good luck. Emotions … I can’t express myself with words, it’s much easier for me to express myself with emotions … But enough. Today I will meet Surcia, may there be no obstacles!!!



Litzmannstadt Getto 10 II 1944
I’ve just noticed that I wrote almost nothing about Cipka—I haven’t even thought about it. But now … at this moment, I’ve thought, Cipka, something whispered into my soul, this name is so sweet. Oh, Cipka, I’m taking delight in it. Cipka, she’s really so sweet … I remember that this morning I looked at a photo of her when she was three (1936). It was winter, she was in the street. Her little face hasn’t changed much, it’s almost the same, but her figure, her figure has changed a lot. In the picture she looks like, or rather she resembles Tamarcia so much! So many years! Now Cipka is eleven, oh, time is going by so fast! […]

Litzmannstadt Getto 12 II 1944
Saturday evening, when I was at Chajusia’s, those deportations made me think about some things. I even talked about them with Chajusia. Chajusia told me to get closer to Cipka, to talk to her, to ask her what she thinks about this or that. I’ll try, after all it’s my duty, I have to replace her mother for her as much as I can. I haven’t started yet, although I think about it. True, I can’t do much for everybody, but I have Cipka with me. (Oh, God, I’m trembling. I don’t want any enemy to get her, to lay a hand on her. I want her always to be mine. Oh, God, help me, I can’t write in Polish now, I simply don’t have the expressions.) (…) That’s why I’m grateful to God three times over, even four, for giving me the opportunity to believe. If it weren’t for my faith, I, like other people, would lose my will to live. However, I was saved just in time. Surcia contributed to this a great deal. […] At that point I started to think about it more, to wonder, contemplate and inquire more often and more deeply. Maybe it’s like that with other things, but … have patience, with God’s help everything will be all right. You can’t do everything at once! Yet, you want to do it so much!

Litzmannstadt Getto 28 II 1944
Sewing something gives me a lot of pleasure and when I finish it I’ll know that I’m stronger … I’ll know that regardless of the conditions I’ll be able to move forward. I’ll have a profession. I won’t depend on my fate, but my fate will depend on me. I feel stronger. A few years ago, in my dreams, when I was imagining my future, I could see sometimes: an evening, a studio, a desk, there is a woman sitting at the desk (an older woman), she’s writing … and writing, and writing … all the time … she forgets about her surroundings, she’s writing. I can see myself as this woman. Another time I could see a modest apartment which I share with my sister—earlier I thought it was Tamarcia, but today it’s more probable that it’s Cipka. Some other time I can see: an evening, a modest room with lights, all my family sitting at the table. It’s so nice … so warm, cozy … Oh, it’s so good! Later, when they all go to bed, I sit at the sewing machine and I’m sewing … sewing … it’s so sweet, so good … so delightful! Because everything I make with my own hands is our livelihood. It pays for bread, education, clothes … almost everything. The work I do with my own hands …Just a while ago I was a bit glad, but now? Maybe because the cousins are at home (first Chanusia was here … but we hardly talked, it was all right, and now?). Their frequent anxiety and annoyance have a negative effect on me. Enough of this! Everything in moderation. When I repeat this, I always recall Mommy. Oh, I’m so happy to resemble her just a little bit. I’m always remembering her. My beloved Mommy!!! […]

Once upon a time when I was five, maybe six, or maybe younger … it was in the evening. Mommy was sitting at the table and I—I don’t know why—was a little irritated and was saying stupid, childish things that hurt Mommy a lot. I said, “I don’t need such a Mommy, you are not my Mommy, my Mommy was much better, in the other apartment the wall was painted with pretty figures, dolls and flowers, but here? … I don’t want to be here, etc …” But when I looked at my Mom, I saw something that I’ll never forget in my life. Never in my life will I forget her face … I immediately felt a stabbing pain in my heart. After all, at that time, I understood so little. Oh, even today I’m full of remorse for those words, although I was a child who understood almost nothing. Oh, God! Did I renounce my Mommy at that moment!? If I had understood what I said, I surely wouldn’t have done it. What pushed me to write this? One thing leads to another. Oh, now Mommy would be very happy with me … she’d be so glad! It wasn’t given to her. She only knew pain, suffering and destitution. In short, she only knew this terrible, terrible life struggle … unfortunately … she was defeated. Oh, I feel like sighing. I remember a song: “Only a Mother’s Heart.” Oh, if someone doesn’t know what a mother is, he can come to me to find out. I know … I know what I had and what I lost. Oh, will I ever be a mother? And … it’s the same over and over again. That’s how the world was created. But wise after the event … unfortunately after the event …

(Am I fooling around now?) Well, I’d like to write a little about it … Mother!? What does it mean? Who is this creature called mother, who with great pleasure suffers and gives birth to a new life … new. There is a part of her in this new life. Oh, isn’t this mother powerful? Extraordinary, mighty? No doubt, yes! Nobody can do what she can do. Nobody. Even pain and suffering make her happy, there is evidence of that. First: how much she suffers before and after she gives birth to a tiny creature, hoping that in the future that tiny creature will be herpride. Or when this tiny creature gets sick? She will fight this sickness day and night, until she beats it … or until she drops. Oh, only a Mother can do that! She can understand and sense everything. This outwardly delicate woman … but at the same time an all-powerful Mother! […]

Will I be a mother one day? Will I be powerful? I don’t know why I’ve written this just now. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. […] I feel like a mother to my brother and sisters. Perhaps there is a difference between those things—a factual, tangible difference. I haven’t created them (my siblings). They were created by the same person who created me, she gave us life (why am I even writing this?). 

Litzmannstadt Getto 5 IV 1944
Because of the holidays there is a lot of commotion. But not everything is positive, unfortunately. Yesterday those who registered for matzos didn’t get any bread. They can starve for a few days or eat matzos. Well, it’s not so easy to be a Jew. At every step there are difficulties. And the weather is capricious, too, although no doubt it is much better, but … children who were adopted receive coupons, so Cipka and I do, too. What we’ll get, I don’t know, that will become clear today. Some kitchens were registering people for the holiday soup. A few girls from our group are leaving at 10 a.m. Today, we’ll find out. Anyway! I wish it were a holiday right now! During the holidays I won’t know where to go first, to Dorka Zand, to Mrs. Lebensztajn, to Dorka Borensztajn and … and I don’t know myself, and now … I’ve planned to write tomorrow, but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to or whether I’ll have an opportunity.

Three years ago the holidays fell on the same days. It was the last holiday, the last Seder with my Daddy. Oh, time goes by so quickly! Daddy was supposed to be released from the hospital for the holidays. Ereve Peysech [the Eve of Passover] like this year, fell on Friday, so Daddy came back on Thursday (like tomorrow). We, the children, were very impatient all day and every few minutes we would approach the window or the balcony to see if an ambulance was coming. […] I couldn’t stay still in one spot but I remember how happy I was that Daddy was coming back. We, the children, weren’t allowed in the hospital, so we would write letters and Mom would take them to Daddy. I discovered so much love for us in Daddy’s letters. God! Perhaps because of this separation, because of these letters, I loved him even more. 

In the winter I saw Daddy in the hospital window. He was cheerful, he could easily pour his own reassurance into me, he said he was better, and soon we’d see each other. Didn’t I see for myself that he was doing better? Yes, that’s why I still believed his words. I was full of hope and reassurance myself. Later, Daddy took a turn for the worse, the hospital itself was getting worse, but nevertheless Daddy was supposed to come home for the holidays. 

On that Thursday I didn’t remember or I didn’t want to remember that Daddy was feeling much worse than in the winter. However, I was very happy that finally he’d be at home. At that time I remembered only the good things, like Daddy holding my hand on Yom Kippur, the letters and the visits. […] In the evening, at last the ambulance stopped in front of the gate. I was on the balcony and my heart totally stopped for a second. And then it started to pound so violently that I thought my chest would explode. I had no idea what to do: stay in place or run to the door. I don’t exactly remember what I did. I only know that it seemed forever when my Daddy was climbing the stairs. Finally, finally, Daddy was in the room and … how disappointed I was … it wasn’t the same Daddy as the one in the hospital window. He didn’t even smile, didn’t respond to our greetings. He was upset and visibly tired. He wanted to go to bed as soon as possible. We had to leave the room. 

God! This feeling! It was in the evening, but the light wasn’t on yet. In that darkness everything was black in front of my eyes. I simply didn’t see anything or anyone. Like a drunk I stumbled into the other room. I felt like sobbing, but I didn’t. I remained silent. Various thoughts were running through my head: what’s wrong with Daddy? Why is he so different? I didn’t expect this. […] I was telling myself that he was only tired, but I was overcome by a strange anxiety. I was bothered by the thought that Daddy wasn’t thinking about us. […] It is true, later I calmed down about the change in Daddy. We even talked to him, although I was very shy, but in my heart … there was a pain, a sorrow in my heart. I don’t know, I don’t know what to call it. Such feelings always wear me out, reduce my energy. I’m unable to do anything. When Daddy wanted a cup of tea, I brought it for him with great difficulty. I had to bring it, because it would look bad that here he is from the hospital and I’m disobedient. The next day I tried to do everything right, although Daddy was very upset. I tried to make every good moment last and not irritate him. Oh, nobody will ever know how hard it was for me and how “cold” I was feeling. And yet nobody knew. […] I withdrew into myself. Nobody could get anything out of me. After all nobody even supposed that I was worried. Oh, how much I needed a kind word, how much I wanted to be alone with Daddy. I wanted him to be like he was in the past. I missed all that and I felt so helpless, so helpless. 

After a few days Daddy regained his cheerfulness and good spirits, but I didn’t have any more opportunities to fulfill my dreams. We were all very happy to be in one room with Daddy. We didn’t talk much, but we exchanged looks. Oh, those looks! I couldn’t say anything at all, not even that I wished him to get better, nothing … simply nothing. I was very awkward. But I wanted to, I wanted to. Only God knows this, because I didn’t tell anybody.

Oh, now I’m remembering it all. I can’t even look at Daddy anymore, only at his picture. But I’ll never see Daddy alive, never see him alive again, never again. God! How terrible it is! It’s going to be the third Seder without Daddy, and the second one without any man at all. Last year Aunt Chaiska was here, and today … today there is Estusia. Oh, it’s so tragic! If only Abramek were here! Oh, God, precisely on Pesach, at the Seder, Daddy will be missed most. Oh, he’ll be missed so much …