Excerpt from Helga's Diary by Helga Weiss, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Helga's Diary

A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp

By Helga Weiss

Helga's Diary
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2013,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2014,
    256 pages.

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We had a good time that summer and still I wasn't satisfied. It hadn't been like other holidays. What I wouldn't give now to be able even to go there! But that's not possible. Jews are not permitted to go more than 20 miles from their place of residence. Prague in summertime, dusty streets, ugh! It will be the first holidays I've ever spent in Prague.

These thoughts whirl around my head; it's why my school report hasn't brought me any joy. But so what: there are kids who have never even been to the countryside. Why shouldn't I try it for once? After all, it is only once. Next year the holidays will be better. Of course they will; after all, this won't last forever.

-

Summer 1941
And the holidays are here. All the Aryan children have left. The only one of my friends who has stayed is Eva—but not the Eva from our building, she's not my friend anymore, not for a long time now. Since Hitler came she looks down on me; she probably thinks she's better than me. If it makes her happy, I'm not going to spoil it for her.


So only Eva stayed. We spend all day together. Eva's building has a small garden where we play. The shady area takes the place of a forest; the tub filled with water stands in for a river. We play for days on end and we're very good friends. Our parents have also grown close. On Sunday, when the weather is good, we take short trips together. When it's nasty out we visit each other. We come over soon after lunch and stay together till late in the evening. That is, until a quarter to eight, because after eight we are not allowed outside. We never want to go home and always look forward to the next day when we'll meet again. So day after day passes, the evenings grow shorter, the air grows cooler. The holidays are nearing an end.

Excerpted from Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp by Helga Weiss. Text copyright © 2013 by Helga Weiss. Translation copyright © 2013 by Neil Bermel. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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