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While typhus rages within the camp, Helga falls into a limbo between death and life.

The months and years pass by, while Helga manages to remain close to her mother, separated by buildings, but in the same concentration camp. However, with men and women divided, Helga is separated from her dear father. To be sent to a Nazi gas chamber requires only the appearance of advanced age, infirmity, disease or rebelliousness.

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

Even something as simple as wearing glasses becomes a ticket to the gas chamber. Helga and her mother barely endure Auschwitz, despite rampant illness and the Nazis desperate need to gas and burn hundreds of thousands of Jews as rapidly as possible. By , it becomes apparent that Germany is losing the war.

The Nazis decide to cover up their massive genocide. Jews are forced to gas and burn people as quickly as possible. In Auschwitz, the crematoria chimneys belch acrid fire and smoke high into the air, like some horrid candle pushing the ashes of Jews into infinity.

Helga and her mother are soon to be dispatched similarly. Unable to complete their mission, the SS order prisoners on a massive death march, including Helga and her mother. Years of starvation and sickness have taken a vast toll. Helga and her mother are near death. It is uncertain whether they will die along the long march or after they arrive at a new Nazi death camp in Germany or Austria.

Helga had little need to embellish her diary after the war because it was so accurate, evocative, and informative. Fascinatingly, we see the development of her writing skills as she ages.

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Her detailed and eloquent description of the final death march rivals the writing of any skilled adult. He works in the Terezin records department. Before Helga is sent to Auschwitz, she tells her uncle about the diary. He hides the diary inside of a brick wall until the war ends. Miraculously, he is then able to find it and return it to her.

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Nazi leadership understands that the world might one day question where these prominent people had gone and how they are being treated. In the end, almost all of those prominent Jews are murdered. The ruse fails.

Book review: 'Helga's Diary' is a provocative book about a young girl in WWII (+video)

Yet this reader had hoped to learn more about the Theresienstadt Jewish schools, orchestras, bands, concerts, lectures, and all manner of the arts established by Jews within Theresienstadt to make their children less afraid. Perhaps Helga was not part of this social and educational aspect of Theresienstadt.

Nazis manufactured films and documentaries inside the camp meant to show the world how well they treat their famous Jews. To this extent, a ruse was accomplished with the Red Cross, in which the healthiest young Jews are forced to pose as happy, fun-loving people, thanks to Nazi generosity. Embarrassingly, The Red Cross falls for this subterfuge, hook line and sinker. This fine book is topped off with a very interesting interview of the author at the conclusion.

Grades: High School Translated by Neil Bermel Cemented in a brick wall and miraculously retrieved after the war, Helga's real-life diary depicts her experiences in Terezin. With updated with family photos, footnotes, recollections, Helga's childhood drawings, journal entries, and diagrams, the bravery of a young girl during such a perilous time is illuminated. Home About Register Sign In.

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Little Girl at Concentration Camp

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