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Original Diary of Rutka Laskier to be Presented to Yad Vashem Tomorrow in Ceremony Marking Publication of the Diary in English and Hebrew

Rutkas friend Stanislawa Sapinska, who kept the diary for 60 years, will travel from Poland to attend the ceremony

3 June 2007

On Monday, June 4, 2007, at 16:30, a gathering marking the presentation of Rutka Laskier’s diary will take place at Yad Vashem. Rutka was killed in Auschwitz at the age of fourteen. The diary is being presented to Yad Vashem to mark the publication, by Yad Vashem, of the diary in English and Hebrew. Rutka’s friend Stanislawa Sapinska, who kept the diary for 60 years will travel from Poland to attend the ceremony. In addition, the event will take place in the presence of Israel’s Ambassador to Poland David Peleg, Rutka Laskier’s sister Dr. Zahava (Laskier) Scherz, (who lives in Israel), Chairman of the Zaglembie (Poland) World Organization Avraham Green, and Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev.

Rutka Laskier, a young girl from Bedzin, Poland, kept a diary for a few months in 1943. The outside world slowly closed down on her, but these few sheets of paper - some 60 handwritten pages in a notebook - reflect the entire universe of an adolescent Jewish girl in the shadow of death. The last entry is from 24 April 1943.

From the diary: “I have a feeling that I am writing for the last time. There is an Aktion in town. I’m not allowed to go out and I’m going crazy, imprisoned in my own house… For a few days, something’s in the air… The town is breathlessly waiting in anticipation, and this anticipation is the worst of all. I wish it would end already! This torment; this is hell. I try to escape from these thoughts, of the next day, but they keep haunting me like nagging flies…” (20 February 1943).

Stanislawa Sapinska would visit Rutka Laskier while checking on her house, which had been confiscated by the Nazis so that it could be included in the ghetto, and in which the Laskier family resided. The two became friendly and when Rutka told her that she felt she would not survive, Stanislawa offered to hide the diary in the basement under one of the floorboards. At the end of the war, Stanislawa returned to the house and found the hidden diary. Since the end of the war, until last year, Stanislawa kept the existence of the diary secret.

Rutka’s Notebook, published by Yad Vashem, includes a foreword by Rutka’s sister, Dr. Zahava Scherz, a historical introduction by Dr. Bella Gutterman, and the diary itself, written between January and April 1943.