Rutka Laskier, a 14-year-old Jewish girl in the town of Bedzin in Poland, died in Auschwitz in 1943. But she left behind a notebook in which she recorded her thoughts, fears and dreams. Some are the musings of any adolescent girl; others are the despairing cries of an individual caught in history's vortex. Now, after 60 years in the keeping of a friend, that notebook has been recovered - and it opens a unique, moving window into the everyday life of Polish Jews caught in the throes of Adolf Hitler's Final Solution. Hailed as the " Polish Anne Frank," Rutka Laskier now speaks to us across the decades: a witness to evil, a voice for the silent, and a timeless symbol of resolve. The editors of TIME add annotations, photos, maps, and quotations that help bring this tragic era into compelling focus for today's readers.
More than sixty years after her 1943 death in Auschwitz, the words of fourteen-year-old Rutka Laskier, a young Jewish girl from Bedzin, Poland, recreate the everyday lives of the Polish Jews of her town caught up in the Holocaust.