Into the Book


Rutka's Notebook - Rutka Laskier

I decided to read this book for two reasons. One, the Holocaust fascinates me so a book on it was most definitely appealing. And two, she was a Polish Jew and I happen to have some Polish blood in my veins, 25% to be correct and an equivalent amount of German. I also have a Jewish friend. So this review is unbiased nationality wise. =D

"Despite all the atrocities I want to live and wait for the following day."
   -Rutka Laskier

Rutka Laskier was a 14 year old Jewish girl who lived in Poland in 1943. Dubbed "The Polish Ann Frank", her diary reflects the normal life of a adolescent girl in the little time before the war. She loved her friends, reading, school and especially her family.

As the war raged on and the Germans invaded Poland, her diary starts to get depressing as she struggles with the pain and turmoil around her. She recounts a soldier tearing a one month old baby from it's mother and killing it in front of her with his bare hands. She says of herself, "The rope around us is getting tighter and tighter, I'm turning into an animal waiting to die."

Unfortunately, her faith did not survive. She says, "The little faith I used to have has been completely shattered. If God existed, He would have certainly not permitted that human beings be thrown alive into furnaces, and the heads of little toddlers be smashed with gun butts or shoved into sacks and gassed to death."

The Jewish people were forced to wear a yellow star of David to identify them as Jews. She was hoping for the day where they didn't have to be publicly labeled anymore. She says, "I simply can't believe that one day I will be allowed to leave this house without the yellow star. Or even that this war will end one day. If this happens I will probably lose my mind from joy!" She did not live to see that day.

Rutka perished in the gas chambers; a victim of Hitler's brutal scheme for a "super breed". The diary was retrieved by Stanislawa Sapinska who kept it hidden for 60 years. Finally in 2006, she handed it over after being encouraged to by her nephew."She wanted me to save the diary," Sapinska said. "Rutka told me, 'I don't know if I will survive but I want the diary to live on, so that everyone will know what happened to the Jews.'" I think that she would have wanted us to realize that the 5.1–6.0 million Jews, 3.0–3.5 which were Polish Jews, are not just a statistic, but a number representing individual people with lives, families, hopes and dream, like Rutka.

I really liked this book. It just could be cause I'm Polish. =D But really, it showed me that we so often hear war statistics of victims of war, natural disasters and mass homicides and treat it just like that- statistics. What happened to the realization that each number represents a human being knitted together by God, someone with a family. I preach to myself as well, because I'm guilty of looking at statistics without compassion and not as souls who are facing their Maker either redeemed or damned.

So what do I want you to take out of this whole soliloquy? One, the Holocaust is not just a piece of history with a number beside it, but the defining moment of time for millions of people like you, like me, like Rutka. Two, remember that each and every human life is sacred, ordained by God. And numbers matter to him so they should matter to us as well. (Luke 12:7; Luke 15:7) We have a hope within us, not to keep in us, but to share with those around us. (2 Corinthians 4:7-12; Acts 1:8) May we never let our fire die but be spreading the flame with those still in the dark.

Besides Rutka's notebook, there is a note from her half-sister, a ton of pictures from the Holocaust, a short biography of her father and and other excerpts from Holocaust survivors.

1 comment:

  1. wow! this review helped me understand so much about the book. it was very well written. thank you all!


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