Rywka as a teenage girl

The following excerpts have the task of showing Rywka as a “normal teenager” experiencing typical for her age dilemmas in relationships with peers and family and moments of rebellion.

Litzmannstadt Getto 3 X 1943r
It is after the first holiday (Rosh Hashanah). It wasn’t bad for me personally. Yesterday was Saturday. We had an assembly. Surcia was reading a newsletter. Oh, it was wonderful and so moving! … Later we had an assembly with the elders. Mr. Berliner delivered a speech … And yesterday after the assembly I noticed that compared to my friends I am at a higher level and that is why they admire me. In their opinion I know a lot and have many skills … Oh, they are so wrong, so mistaken … I confided to Ewa about it. She confirmed that I could offer them something, although not all that much, but I could. And I feel that I know so little …That I have few skills … I have to write a letter to Surcia.

Litzmannstadt Getto 12 X 1943 r.
God! God! What’s going to happen? The world is too small for me. I can’t find my own place, but I am sitting on the chair quietly and I am not showing my emotions. If somebody started telling jokes now, I’d burst into laughter. And later I’d say to myself, “This is foolish.” What can I do? Yesterday I was lost in my thoughts for a while. I was thinking that a 14-year old girl can be regarded as a child, if we take age into consideration. My friends are the best evidence. But to tell you the truth, the ghetto affects them (it affects me, too) and clearly it doesn’t do us any good. Unfortunately, people only take age into consideration, and not brains. They consider me, a 14-year old, to be a child (I am lucky to be nicely developed physically), but they are wrong. I am going to waste. But nobody knows it. I can only feel that if I were older, people would understand me better. Well, I can’t move a step forward. Let’s suppose that I think a lot, but what’s it good for? I am helpless …

Litzmannstadt Getto 4 XI 1943
About two weeks ago Surcia whispered into my ear that when she had been walking with Chajusia she met Estusia and Minia. They told her that I had changed for the better. I was racking my brains over what they meant by that. I can only explain it by the fact that I do more [around the house] than I say. More? Almost everything! So it isn’t surprising. But maybe there is something else that I’m not seeing? Maybe Surcia told me that just to make me happy? Oh, my diary, what is going to happen? God only knows!

Litzmannstadt Getto 17 XI 1943
Ewa and Fela told me that as of a little while ago I had changed both for the better and for the worse, that I had become conceited. I reply that it may be because I’m friends with Surcia, etc … Ewa told me that she thought I was gossiping with Surcia about the girls, including about her. Oh, they are so wrong. Maybe they are simply jealous, well, maybe not … There is a heavy weight on my heart … 

Litzmannstadt Getto 22 XII 1943
Cipka knew that I had seen Miss Zelicka so I reluctantly asked her if she knew what was the subject of the conversation between Miss Zelicka and Estusia. Thanks to Cipka I found out. Estusia said I was stubborn, that before I came to live with them I wasn’t obedient and in the beginning I was being hysterical. In other words, she presented me in a dazzlingly negative light. At that point I understood. I didn’t and I don’t know what to do. First, I have to talk to Surcia. I’m boiling inside … I feel that my eyes are covered. I can’t see, but I have to see. I can’t find a place for myself. I don’t share anything with anybody, only with my diary and Surcia, my beloved Surcia. I don’t know anything, oh, I don’t know anything, I’m helpless … What’s going to happen? What shall I do? Whom shall I ask, who’s going to help me? Oh, there are so many questions and no answers. […]

Litzmannstadt Getto 31 XII 1943

Today I can continue writing … So, in our class … I wrote about the literature club. I was elected to it, but later the girls were arguing. Some were against me. […] Edzia told me all about it later. They wanted me to be in the club because I could be useful by writing, for example, articles for the school newspaper. Although I felt insulted, I couldn’t now refuse (it would look like Edzia was turning me against them), but I did want to withdraw … The girls gathered in the evening, but who came? Very few older girls, mostly kids. The chairmen were not there. Oh, nonsense … just a headache, nothing else … Yesterday Lusia said that they (Edzia, Hela, Jadzia and Marysia Łucka) (again Marysia Łucka) and somebody else have a club, read literature, and publish a school newspaper. They want me to join them. Literature! Oh, I want to read it! […] I brought Miss Zelicka some pound cake and went to the tailor’s to try on my cap. On the way back I stopped by at Chajusia’s. She asked me to express my feelings and impressions about the “soirée.” Somehow I can’t … my heart is heavy. […] Oh, my heart … I don’t know if I could find some comfort in writing. Oh, if I could only write as much as I want! But I can’t. As for my cousins (yesterday they received a B ration, for one person—probably there will be new categories “L,” “S,” and “N”).26 I have decided, as I mentioned before, not to use what is exclusively theirs. Cipka can’t overcome it, she’s just a kid, but I succeed and it pleases me. Sure, if they buy something, for example, onions, garlic, things like that, then I take it, even if they didn’t want me to, because it is shared—mine and theirs—but the ration … but the ration … it’s a different story. I admire myself for how easy it is for me. I’m curious how it will develop, because so far the cousins haven’t noticed anything. I’m curious how they will react … 

Litzmannstadt Getto 17 III 1944
I’m so absorbed with this exam that I have no more time for my diary. Yesterday I wrote a poem in Yiddish for the school performance but probably it’ll be recited by Juta Alperin. I’m curious how it’ll work out (because certainly people will applaud), [but] whom will they applaud? Mrs. Kaufman said that before the recitation of the poem they would announce that I was the author, so now it’s a little different. […] I must admit I have a little problem with that but I think it’s natural. Besides Juta is not a good speaker, she’s started so many times … but what can I do? That’s the way it is in the world and I have to reconcile myself to it. I was told to write it, to make some effort, etc. and after all that I’m disposable? If I were a bad speaker and Juta a good one, then it would be understandable, but it’s not like that … anyway, why should I write about it? I have to get rid of this thought and not be so selfish!