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The Diary of Eva Heyman

Posted on 4/24/2014 by Ariel Rudolph

“[…] dear diary, I don’t want to die; I want to live even if it means that I’ll be the only person allowed to stay here. I could wait for the end of the war in some cellar, or on the roof, or in some secret cranny. I would even let the cross-eyed gendarme, the one who took our flour away from us, kiss me, just as long as they don’t kill me, and that they would let me live.”

These were the last lines that the 13 year old Eva Heyman wrote in her diary on 30 May 1944. Eva was from a Jewish middle-class family and grew up in the city Nagyvarad in Hungary. She started recording her diary on 13 February 1944, and journaled it until 30 May 1944 - three days before she was deported to Auschwitz.

In her diary, Eva describes how before the Nazis invaded her hometown she felt imminent danger. She describes the impact the anti-Jewish laws had on her stepfather and grandfather. She tells how her family members tried to convince each other that the war would soon be over and that life will return to normal. On March 19, 1944 her worst fears became a reality when her home town was occupied by the Nazis and she wrote a heartbreaking entry:

“Dear diary, you are the luckiest one in the world, because you cannot feel, you cannot know what a terrible thing has happened to us. The Germans have come!”

In her diary Eva described how the situation for the Jews in Hungary deteriorated. Each and every day more and more restrictions were imposed on the Jews in Hungary, their movements were limited, they had to wear the yellow star, and their possessions were taken confiscated. Finally, on 1 May 1944 when the ghetto was sealed and the Jews were expelled from their homes and crammed into the ghetto in extremely tight, inhumane conditions, Eva wrote:

“Dear diary, from now on I’m imagining everything as if it really is a dream.
[…] I know it isn’t a dream, but I can’t believe a thing. […] Nobody says a word.
Dear diary, I’ve never been so afraid.”

The diary ends on May 30, 1944 with a last entry before Eva’s deportation to Auschwitz:

“I want to live at all costs” and “I don't want to die because I've hardly lived.”

Eva is only one of about 1.5 million innocent children who were murdered by the Nazis before they had a chance to enjoy and live their lives. On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the six million Jews, six million worlds, whose dreams, wishes and plans were completely destroyed by the masters of evil.

On this day, we remember not only the victims of the Holocaust, but also Holocaust survivors, many of whom need help.

We want to let these needy people feel that we appreciate them and stand by their side. We would like to provide you the opportunity to remember the holocaust victims, both living and dead, and do a good deed by supporting Holocaust survivors with a donation.

By Ora Shapiro
Credit to Yad Vashem