Renia Spiegel was born in Uhryńkowce in Tarnopol province on June 18, 1924, the daughter of Rose and Bernard Spiegel. Bernard Spiegel was a land owner of an estate during this time. Renia’s younger sister by six years, Ariana, was a child star and by the age of 8 was performing on the famous stage of 'Cyrulik Warszawski'. She was featured in numerous films shot before the outbreak of the Second World War, including a part in director, Michael Waszyński’s film, Gehenna (1938).
Renia starts her diary in January 1939. At the outbreak of war, Renia is 15 years old. Together with her sister, Ariana, she stays in Przemyśl with their grandparents. Renia writes moving poems which are sometimes featured in the school newspaper. She also writes a series of poems in a hand-illustrated and beautifully bound booklet. Her diary mainly describes her loneliness living in war-torn Poland without a mother, her first love (she kisses her boyfriend for the first time four hours before the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union), and everyday life during the Soviet and then German occupations.
The diary describes her fears and terror during the creation of the ghetto in Przemyśl. She writes of the humiliation she experiences first-hand and witnesses on the streets of Przemyśl. She writes up until the last day of her short life. She is shot on the street of the ghetto a week after her 18th birthday.
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This nearly seven hundred-page journal by Renia Spiegel, which spans the years 1939 to the summer of 1942, presents a powerful insight into the life of a young woman, whose life was tragically cut short shy of her eighteenth birthday. The diary is an eyewitness account of the horrors of day-to-day life during the Nazi occupation. There is incredible maturity in her observations and insights. Her account of her personal life is poignant, heart breaking, and often amusing with her expression of adolescent infatuation exposing the raw emotion of a teenager. This powerful diary is not only a primary historical source of the Holocaust, but also a true and outstanding work of literature.