Worth Reading: Salvaged Pages, Young Writer's Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder

January 7, 2024

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Salvaged Pages, Young Writer’s Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder

By Daniella Lurion, Tour for Humanity Director

As we remember the six million Jewish victims murdered in the Holocaust, here at FSWC we strive to provide a platform for survivor voices and give names to the victims. Salvaged Pages helps with this monumental task. The book consists of a collection of diaries written by Jewish youth and adults between the ages of 12 and 22 during the Holocaust. The author, Alexandra Zapruder, opens each diary entry with an explanation about the acquisition of the diary and, where possible, information about the fate of the diarists.

Some diary entries are intricate and comprehensive, like Ilya Gerber’s account of the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania. His diary is peppered with detailed descriptions of his surroundings and insights of the increasing danger faced by his community. Other diaries, such as the one written by “Anonymous Girl,” are exactly that – a nameless voice with a concrete story. Her diary consists of fragmented entries over a few weeks’ span in winter 1942 - and then ends abruptly, an indication of her likely fate.

In all cases, the diarists’ words help shape a generation of young people who not only had their childhoods stolen, but a generation leaving their mark in a world that became increasingly more dangerous. As the author explains in her introduction, “at best, for the survivors, they are a record of years denied; at worst, for the perished, they are all that is left from a single life that ended in brutality.” Salvaged Pages gives insight into the intimate thoughts and feelings of young people finding themselves in the throes of war and genocide.