The Jewish children of Lodz suffered unfolding harsh realities after the German invasion of Poland. Some of the children, among them Miriam Goldberg, recorded their experiences in diaries. Their voices offer a view into the struggle of a community and its young to live in spite of the most difficult circumstances.
“I sit next to a table with a broken glass
And look at a street full of mud.
I dream that somewhere is a land full of sun,
Somewhere, a field of golden wheat.”
—Miriam Goldberg, age 16
Miriam Goldberg was born in Lodz, Poland, in November 1924. She was one of seven children. Her father was a rabbinical judge and her mother ran a women's clothing store in Lodz.
When her family was forced into the Lodz ghetto, Miriam was in her second year of high school. When the ghetto schools closed, Miriam went into the workshops, toiling in a sewing factory. In the ghetto, she coped by writing prose and poetry in Polish. She also spent her free time as a member of the Gordonya Hakhsharah, a youth group. For her family and the youth group, Miriam set many of her words to melodies and sang them.
In August 1944, Miriam was deported to Auschwitz. She was later sent to work in a factory in France before being taken to Bergen-Belsen. Miriam was liberated in April 1945 from the labor camp Muhltuer. After liberation she returned to Lodz to discover that she had lost all of her family except two sisters. In 1948, she moved to Israel where she got married and raised a family.
Critical Thinking Questions
- Why are diaries an important part of the historical record?
- What makes children’s diaries distinct?
- How are some of these accounts different from that of Anne Frank?
- Investigate the experiences of children in the ghettos.