Who Was Renia Spiegel?

 

“Hear, O Israel, Save Us” “Oh God Almighty! Help us! Take care of us, give us your blessing.” 

Last week I was given a copy of the November issue of Smithsonian magazine, featuring a story on a young Jewish girl in Poland named Renia Spiegel. She created a diary right before she unknowingly entered Hell, as the horrors of the Holocaust infiltrated her innocent world. It’s a miracle that this diary survived at all if you read how it came to be found, and how it traveled over 70 years to become a powerfully troubled voice once again in 2018. The Smithsonian translated it in its entirety.

She is being compared to Anne Frank. My friend who subscribes and shared this issue with us said she cried as she read her story. The entire issue is dedicated to remembering. Let Us Never Forget.

Sept. 22, 1939: “My dear diary! I had a strange day today. Iwow surrendered. Not to Germany, but to Russia. The Polish soldiers were disarmed in the streets. Some, with tears in their eyes, just dropped their bayonets to the ground and watched the Russians break their rifles. I feel such grief. Only a small handful are still fighting. Despite the order, defenders of Iwow are continuing their heroic fight to die for their homeland.”

Another story in this issue is called “Finding Her Voice, about the discovery of a young Jewish poet and her Holocaust Diary”:

“I don’t know why, but my future flashes before me and it is so sad and so painful that without even realizing it, I crumple in pain….That is the restless souls like me: We wander from one place to another, hoping to find some peace.” — Matilda Oikin

Again, the words scream, Save Me!

@bethanymandel‘s recent story on a women’s movement march in New York where she found blatant antisemitism, was shocking. Who is fueling this antisemitism to a new generation in 2018?

Also, in the November issue of Smithsonian Magazine, another article is titled, “World, wake UP! Young people caught in the crossfire of history provide fearless accounts of the horrors of war — and shatter our complacency in real time.” These words were written on June 11, 1944, by an anonymous boy in Lodz Ghetto, Poland. Again, he is screaming, “world, wake up!”

This past week, yet another terrorist attack took place in France, right on schedule between Hanukkah and Christmas. Have we woken up? Even the term “woke” now has a new and very disturbing meaning.

I came across the last ten minutes of a concert on PBS by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the beautiful Heinz Hall, where I grew up and visited on many a school field trip. I was stopped in my tracks, it was so moving. It was called a concert for Peace and Unity, in honor of those that lost their lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre on Oct. 27. The concert features the amazing Itzhak Perlman and funding was made possible by the Freida Berlinski Foundation (A Claire relation?).

I hope they re-air it, but here is the beautiful and reverent audio concert tribute.

This is Pittsburgh, in an America I remember and believe still exists, that we all remember. Is the attack on a peaceful synagogue in a suburb of Pittsburgh, a newly discovered Holocaust diary, or another terrorist attack in Europe, or the continuing antisemitism that we’re seeing in our country and around the world, or the constant reminder of the evil that seeks the elimination of Jews and Christians, a mere coincidence? It is well-coordinated. Talk about it, write about it, educate, push back, never accept, and never forget. Peace and unity?

World, wake up!

There are 14 comments.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Words fail me when I confront the Holocaust. Such depravity.

    • #1
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    OK, FSC, you woke me up. Great post. 

    • #2
  3. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Thank you for this post. I’ll definitely read that Smithsonian article over the weekend. My late Father left Poland, that very area Lvov shortly after the war/surrender/partition between Germany and the Soviets in 1939 when he was 16. Though Catholic, he mentioned in his memoir that he had a Jewish friend and never learned what became of him. 

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    In the past year, we have had many posts that have touched on anti-Semitism. This is a very good one, FSC. Sometimes I feel like I’m being paranoid: my life is relatively carefree, there is so much love on Ricochet for Jews and Christians alike–how could such a hatred continue to exist? I try to find the balance between vigilance and paranoia, and sometimes even peace. It’s a challenge. Thanks for this post.

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    People need to understand a Holocaust can happen to any group once enough forces are aligned against it.  Think about Reverend Niemöller’s “First they came for . . .” quote and you’ll get the idea . . .

    • #5
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    In the past year, we have had many posts that have touched on anti-Semitism. This is a very good one, FSC. Sometimes I feel like I’m being paranoid: my life is relatively carefree, there is so much love on Ricochet for Jews and Christians alike–how could such a hatred continue to exist? I try to find the balance between vigilance and paranoia, and sometimes even peace. It’s a challenge. Thanks for this post.

    I hear you and feel the same way – it doesn’t make sense that this kind of hate continues – but alot doesn’t make sense – nothing like that has ever happened in Pgh.  Stay positive – 

    • #6
  7. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    In the past year, we have had many posts that have touched on anti-Semitism. This is a very good one, FSC. Sometimes I feel like I’m being paranoid: my life is relatively carefree, there is so much love on Ricochet for Jews and Christians alike–how could such a hatred continue to exist? I try to find the balance between vigilance and paranoia, and sometimes even peace. It’s a challenge. Thanks for this post.

    I hear you and feel the same way – it doesn’t make sense that this kind of hate continues – but alot doesn’t make sense – nothing like that has ever happened in Pgh. Stay positive –

    You’re correct Susan. There have been several posts on anti-Semitism lately. I didn’t want to hijack them but was going to ask the Ricochetti about a subset of it – African-American anti-Semitism after that CNN “Professor” was fired. I started reading about the subject (Wikipedia, I know, I know!) but it was rather interesting. More honest than I was expecting actually. Hope to relay that in separate post when time permits.

    • #7
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    In the past year, we have had many posts that have touched on anti-Semitism. This is a very good one, FSC. Sometimes I feel like I’m being paranoid: my life is relatively carefree, there is so much love on Ricochet for Jews and Christians alike–how could such a hatred continue to exist? I try to find the balance between vigilance and paranoia, and sometimes even peace. It’s a challenge. Thanks for this post.

    I hear you and feel the same way – it doesn’t make sense that this kind of hate continues – but alot doesn’t make sense – nothing like that has ever happened in Pgh. Stay positive –

    You’re correct Susan. There have been several posts on anti-Semitism lately. I didn’t want to hijack them but was going to ask the Ricochetti about a subset of it – African-American anti-Semitism after that CNN “Professor” was fired. I started reading about the subject (Wikipedia, I know, I know!) but it was rather interesting. More honest than I was expecting actually. Hope to relay that in separate post when time permits.

    A very good point – there has been a new creation of identity politics, (and more “labels than I can ever recall). If you aren’t claiming the right identity, or the latest trend to identify with, there will be hell to pay.

    • #8
  9. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    how could such a hatred continue to exist?

    It continues to exist because of Islam. Killing the Jews is a goal and written in the Koran. Taught and preached at least since 644 CE.

    • #9
  10. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    I’ve been over to the Smithsonian and have read most of the articles of the November issue. Now I have subscribe to it for at least a year. I should get the Dec issue. Also, Front Seat Cat, have forwarded your post to a number of people, mostly family.

    • #10
  11. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I’ve been over to the Smithsonian and have read most of the articles of the November issue. Now I have subscribe to it for at least a year. I should get the Dec issue. Also, Front Seat Cat, have forwarded your post to a number of people, mostly family.

    Amazing that we have to still talk about antisemitism – I am glad to see The Smithsonian dedicating an issue to reminding us that unless we learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat – it looks like we’re currently doing a lot of repeating on a number of things.

    • #11
  12. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Last week once again….in France:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/world/europe/france-jewish-cemetery-swastikas.html

     

    • #12
  13. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Last week once again….in France:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/world/europe/france-jewish-cemetery-swastikas.html

    My close friend who came from France to visit me in 2017, lost her husband Tuesday night. He will be interned in a family vault, in a Christian Cemetery in a few days. She is a Jew, who married a Catholic, and will be living alone. I want her to come back to the USA, she still owns her parent’s home in CA. However, I have no say in the matter.

    • #13
  14. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Last week once again….in France:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/world/europe/france-jewish-cemetery-swastikas.html

    My close friend who came from France to visit me in 2017, lost her husband Tuesday night. He will be interned in a family vault, in a Christian Cemetery in a few days. She is a Jew, who married a Catholic, and will be living alone. I want her to come back to the USA, she still owns her parent’s home in CA. However, I have no say in the matter.

    That is sad.  Maybe it feels more like home to her there.

    • #14

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