Children in the Holocaust and World War II Summary
by Laurel Holliday

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Children in the Holocaust and World War II

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Laurel Holliday’s CHILDREN IN THE HOLOCAUST AND WORLD II: THEIR SECRET DIARIES is a volume of carefully selected extracts from the diaries and memoirs of twenty-three children, ages ten to eighteen, who lived in Europe during World War II.

The nine boys and fourteen girls whose writings comprise this volume are as different as they are similar. They have in common a milieu of war and atrocities, but they hail from different countries and have very different experiences to relate.

Mary Berg, the daughter of a Jewish man and an American woman in Poland, contributes thirty-three entries, all written between October, 1939, and March, 1944. Berg’s American citizenship saved her from a Nazi death camp. At the height of the pogroms in the Warsaw Ghetto, she was traded to the Allies for German prisoners of war. Eva Heyman, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl in Hungary, was not as lucky. She lived under the constant threat of death and was eventually murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. Macha Rolnikas, a fourteen-year-old Lithuanian girl, was spared because she was healthy enough to work as an undertaker at the Stutthof concentration camp, undressing dead bodies and removing their gold teeth.

Selected and introduced by a professional psychotherapist, these diary entries document the diverse experiences of European children in World War II. The book serves as an important supplement to Anne Frank’s famous diary, which chronicles only one child’s experiences in the Holocaust and World War II.