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August 28, 1942
“Amil, please don’t leave me! Please Amil, don’t go. You can stay with me and I’ll take care of you like just like a sister! I will, I promise. Just please stay with me. It’s almost over and we can leave this awful place. Just please don’t go Amil, please!” I said between sobs. I couldn’t bear to have Amil go. And I couldn’t bring myself to accept the fact she was gone.
“Anika, come. We have to leave from this place for a head count.” My mother said to me as she pulled me to my feet.
“Mama, what about Amil? We have to carry her to the head count or they won’t count her! We have to bring her Mama!” I yelled frantically.
“Anika, my child, Amil is dead. She is gone to live with the Father now. We have to accept it. We have to live on for Amil. Now, come because we have to go before they come to us. Now wipe the tears from your eyes.” Mama said as we walked to the yard.
“She was so young Mama. She was only eight and they shot her. She wasn’t sick and she was very strong. Why did they have to shoot her? Mama, are they going to shoot me next?”
“No, now hush child, for they will hear you.”
“But Mama, why do they hate the Jews so much? What we do to them to make them hate us so?”
“Nothing, but the Lord will stay with us. Now be quiet Anika.” She told me. The Germans were starting to count the heads of the Jews lined up. We were all skinny like sticks. They stopped at Amil’s place and crossed her number off the list. I felt so angered that we are nothing but numbers to the Gestapo. That if we die, they don’t even care, they just cross us off. Why do they treat us like this? We have done nothing to that horrible Hitler! In fact, it should be the opposite. With us Jews counting the Germans, instead of the Germans counting us. But it will never be, I know that. The Nazi are done with their count and are now yelling at us to get to work. They treat us like dogs. We have to do things that are the work of men and not of women and children. This is not what God has said. This is what Hitler has said. Humans should listen to God and not to a man who doesn’t love everyone.
September 4, 1942
Mama says that we can’t give Amil a proper burial. She says that no matter where we bury her, Amil’s spirit is going to heaven anyway. It’s just the body that stays. Mama says in heaven, we don’t need our bodies. That brought me a little peace but I still have nightmares about Amil’s killing. It was horrible! And the worst part was that she knew it was going to happen. All children under ten were killed that day. I am eleven so I didn’t get shot. She didn’t even get her eyes covered. She saw everything and she didn’t even cry. She was brave and they shouldn’t have shot her. Today a man was beaten to death. He did nothing and was punished. He was a good man and gave me bread through the fence in secret. He comforted me even though I was a stranger. All I know and love are being killed. I wonder if I am next or even Mama. To see her die would be like killing me too.
Work today was hard. Is it ever easy? To be in America is everyone’s dream. I pray that God will let me and Mama escape from this camp. But many people pray for that every day and more than I do. Mama says that prayers are calls to God. And she says that God is so busy picking up all the calls he gets that He puts a lot on hold for a little. And when you’re on hold with God, be patient and don’t hang up. Call from many different phones and wait for Him to answer because in time, He will. It’s hard waiting though. For how long am I supposed to call and wait? Until more people die? It shouldn’t be one person. Jews are people too, God’s people. Sometimes I feel like yelling that in Hitler’s face. I am rejoicing for only one reason; I am alive and so is Mama.
September 11, 1942
The airs smells so much today! The smell is making many people throw up. It is the smell of burning bodies. I can’t bear the thought of Amil’s body tiny body being squiched by so many bodies. Mama says not to think about her but how can I not? I am wondering if me and Mama will ever get out of here. It is horrible here and they have no right to treat us this way. Mama says that because they have power, they can do this.
Today I caught Mama crying. She didn’t know I saw her but if my brave and strong Mama is crying, I know things are getting worse. Before this war, everything was okay. Me, Papa, Mama, and Yurom were happy. We had a good house and always had food. Mama says that we weren’t rich but we were doing okay. Only if everything was back to the way it was. But wishing for “if” doesn’t matter. It’s not going to make everything better. I’ve been on hold with God for a while, why won’t He answer? Has He forgotten the Jews?
September 18, 1942
Me and Mama have to get out of here. Mama is getting weaker and she is not as strong anymore. The Nazi are going to kill who is weak and any children left. They are going to kill us! What have we done to deserve this? To be shot like common criminals. I did nothing to the Germans. I have never yelled at Yurom even.
I’m going to make a plan to escape. We have to get out. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it but we have to do it before next week. I know I am only eleven but I am capable of many things. I will tell Mama of my plan and she will love it.
September 21, 1942,
There are several head counts per day. The last one is at eleven at night. The first one is at four in the morning. If we can escape between the night hours, we are least likely to be caught. We will leave tonight. I haven’t told mama yet but I will as soon as I get the chance.
I told Mama of the plan and she said I will have to go alone! She is to weak and has contracted a disease. She says I have so much to live for and she is going to die of the disease or of the Germans anyway. I told her I will never leave her alone. I am going to accept death and stay by my mama’s side. I am not a coward to run from death. Mama says not to worry because I will see everyone that has dies in heaven.
I worked blind today. I was blinded from my tears. I got kicked in the side twice. Once because I stopped for a second to move the hair from my eyes and another time because I cried after the first kick. I have a big bruise on my side and I am afraid something is broken. It hurts to move at all. I will have to work through the pain or there is surely more to come. The German who kicked me said many harsh words to me. I could not understand fully but Mama says it’s better if I do not know what he said. I have gone without talking for many hours. I can’t get any words out.
September 27, 1942
Yesterday the Gestapo killed Mama! They said she was weak and dying. They should have let her die in peace. Today I know they will kill me. This is my last entry and if anyone finds this diary, I would like them to give it to my Papa or my brother Yurom. They are still alive. I know of it. They are in the men’s camp on the other side of the fence. I have lived a good life and I will live in heaven forever. I’m glad to be going to the Father’s house. He must know the answers to my questions and I will ask Him everyone.
The Germans are going into the housing quarters to get the children. They are nearing my quarters. I will write until they grab me. I said goodbye to Mama. I saw her body and I didn’t cry. I am out of tears. I promised myself that I will be brave and not cry, just like Amil. They shot her and they are going to shoot me. I am ready for it. I am almost out of words and I don’t want tears to sneak up on me. Instead of writing, I am going to hide this diary. I will give it to a friend that will live to give it to Papa. Goodbye and this is my last wo-
This is an excerpt from Ani’s diary. It is of her final days. The Germans came to get her and Ani was killed that day. A friend of her mother’s grabbed the diary before the Germans could see and hid it. The friend eventually got it to her father. Her father died during the harsh winter. Ani’s brother, Yurom, survived and came to America. It was here he found someone to publish this diary.
Ani’s Diary is a favorite for children in Poland, Ani’s birthplace. Ani may have died but she lives on through this diary.