The Diary of Petr Ginz 1941-1942, written by Peter Ginz, Edited by his sister, Chava Pressburger, translation by Elena Lappin is extremely poignant, compelling, insightful, astounding and inspiring!
Petr lived a short sixteen years, but his life was filled with artistic flair, to the very end. From writing to drawing, painting and editing a newsletter, he filled the last years of his life with identity, courage and creativity. That we are able to read these diary entries is amazing in itself, as they were only discovered in February of 2003.
It is difficult to review this book, because of the circumstances surrounding the diary.
Petr’s outlook on life, the Holocaust, the Jewish condition, his family and friends is all documented within the diary’s pages. The documentation lasts up to the time he was transported to Theresienstadt. We are given snippets of history, ghetto conditions, devastation, humor, joy, his childish pranks, sadness and poignancy, all within the framework of a teenager’s voice. Near the end of his life, his thoughts and emotions show a strength and maturity beyond his years. Petr was part of the Jewish condition that he so sincerely and faithfully wrote about.
His intense diary entry regarding the time when he receives notification of his impending transport to the Theresienstadt concentration camp is overwhelming to read (and, it was written while in Theresienstadt). While there for two years, he continued to write, which is, in itself, a testament to the endurance of the young teenager’s brilliance of mind, and of his almost innate and continuing need to put words to paper. How one so young could have written what he did under such duress is incomprehensible.
The Diary of Petr Ginz: 1941-1942 will long be remembered by me, his words ever beautiful and filled with symbolic references have touched me extremely deeply. This is a must read for every age group. I highly recommend this important and historical book to everyone.