Hope and lack of hope

Litzmannstadt Getto 24 XI 1943
(I don’t have any time to write a diary) … I’m sick of my entire life … These never-ending grudges of my cousins etc. etc. (besides there is no bajrat any more). […] Oh, dear God, when is it going to end?

I don’t want to live at all. I have just thought, “What a pity that Jews are not allowed to kill themselves.” It seems that you mustn’t even think about it. I can’t stand it any more. I’m writing these words standing at the small table. That’s why I’m scribbling so much. It seems to me that I’m not showing my feelings. Maybe a little. Oh, when will there be liberation? Because I really will go crazy … I don’t have time … (Nobody is at home right now.)

Litzmannstadt Getto 23 II 1944
I’m helpless! Totally helpless! What else shall I write? Everything is the same! I feel that precisely at this moment I should write a lot, I feel it … oh, if I poured it out on to the paper, would I be better? But how can I do it? In Żeromski’s book I found some good parts … namely: there was so much longing, so much, in the heart … but with the arrival of the son, with his one hug, all the longing melted away. The arrival of the son took it out of the heart and when it melted it went through the eyes in the form of tears of happiness. How much we need something like that!

Bits of longing have been accumulating in my heart for years, but any time my brother or sister show up with one hug, one look, those bits could disappear and turn into tears of happiness. But for now I don’t have any tears. However I cry, I scream, but in silence. I’m so unhappy. My longing is growing … there is more and more longing … the only thing that could stop it is so far away … and it’s receding … What shall I do? Blow myself into pieces? No! I can’t do that! Wait patiently? Oh, it’s too much! It’s nerve-wracking. Oh, I’m afraid I can’t take it any more! I cry with all my might, “Hold on!” Because it’s most important! And most difficult! God! What a struggle! What a terrible struggle!

I’m more and more exhausted! It’s not surprising! But it can’t be like that! It mustn’t be like that! It mustn’t … I can’t give up! But who’s thinking of giving up? Never mind … it’s so hard! What else shall I write? Perhaps “hard” yet again. Oh, I feel that I’m sinking more and more into a swamp and mud … and … I can’t get out. Maybe somebody is pushing me? That somebody is going to be stronger than me? No! I won’t let it happen! I’ll do my best! But again I’m overwhelmed by exhaustion! Oh, how can I stop it? Who can help me? This ghetto is a terrible hell.

Litzmannstadt Getto 19 III 1944
And Passover is coming … Passover is coming. Unfortunately, I’m not looking forward to it as I did every year before the war (or even during the war). I’m overwhelmed by horror thinking about it, because no doubt we’ll be starving. It’s a holiday which has always been welcome and yearned for, this holiday … well …? Nevertheless I wish it were here now. Who knows? Who knows, maybe it will be better? It has to be better! It’s time! High time! We’re longing for this spring with nostalgia! May it come soon!

Litzmannstadt Getto 3 IV 1944
Thank God, thank God, a hundred, a thousand times for this miraculous change of weather! Yesterday we opened the balcony. Oh, one wants to live! It’s so different now! On Saturday I got up earlier (I was waiting for Surcia), I simply couldn’t stay in bed. Young blood flowed in my veins. Youth! Youth full of life! Something in me was calling! (After all my little poem had some effects! On Friday I wrote a poem about spring.) God. Thank you, thank you for this miraculous change of weather. My hope is revived. Oh, really, I have no words of gratitude for God! I wish the holiday were here now! I wish the summer were here! I wish … I don’t know. I only know that I want to live! I want to live!!! Yesterday when we were baking the matzos, it wasn’t so cold. Oh, all of this! I’m afraid that it may disappear soon. But I’m driving this thought away. To live now! To live

[…] Oh, I want to live! I want to sing! Spring! Beloved spring! (I can’t recall a day like that in my diary. Oh, this awful ink. Everything runs together in one word! Little spring! Little spring!)

Litzmannstadt Getto 11 IV 1944
We had an assembly on Sunday. I’m so happy. Maybe it’ll be better, maybe finally it’ll be all right? Oh, as soon as possible! Oh, this excitement. It seems to be overcoming everyone. In a way it’s because of this wonderful change in the weather. Yes, no doubt about it. […] Only the Lord knows what we need and … Oh, God, give us what we need! Give it to us! (Oh, summer rain is falling!)

Litzmannstadt Getto 12 IV 1944
Because of this, when I was walking home I realized how beautiful youth was. If I only had a piece of paper, I’d have written something. Later, I recalled the “Ode to Youth” and it happened that I had this very volume of Mickiewicz with me. At moments like this I want to live so much. There is less sadness, but we’re more aware of our miserable circumstances, our souls are sad and … really one needs a lot of strength in order not to give up. We look at this wonderful world, this beautiful spring, and at the same time we see ourselves in the ghetto deprived of everything, we’re deprived of everything, we don’t have the smallest joy, because, unfortunately, we’re machines with well developed animal instincts. They’re visible everywhere (mostly during the meals). It all affects us so much that we become duller and duller. Looking at us one can see how much effort we need to create a better daily life, in which … 

Why shall I even write about it? I want it, I want it so much. When I realize that we’re deprived of everything, that we’re slaves, I try to put off this thought in order not to spoil this joyful little moment. How hard it is! Oh, God, how much longer? I think that only when we are liberated we will enjoy a real spring. Oh, I miss this dear Spring …