Penguin Book

Helga's Diary

Helga Weiss

An extremely rare and important publishing event: the diary of a Jewish girl who lived through the Holocaust.

In 1939 when she begins her diary, Helga is eleven years old. Alongside her father and mother and roughly 40,000 Jews who lived in Prague at the time, she endures the first wave of the Nazi invasion and racist brutality. Gradually, as the Nazis' full intentions unfold, deportations begin and her friends and family start to disappear. In 1941, Helga and her parents are sent to the concentration camp of Terezin, where they live for three years, and then, in 1944, Helga's father is sent to Auschwitz. Helga and her mother choose to follow him there, not realising what lies in wait for them. Helga's diary survives as her uncle bricks it into a wall in order to preserve it. At Auschwitz, Helga's father is murdered, but miraculously Helga and her mother survive the camp, the many transports and journeys of the last days of the war, and manage ultimately to return to Prague. As Helga writes down her experiences since Terezin, completing the diary, she is fifteen and a half. Barely a single Jew remains in the city. Written in pencil in school exercise books and translated here for the first time, Helga's diary is a strikingly immediate and exceptionally important first-hand account of the Holocaust.

Helga Weiss was born in Prague in 1929. Of the 15,000 children brought to Terezin and later deported to Auschwitz, only 100 survived the Holocaust. Helga was one of them. After the war, Helga studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and became an artist. In 1954 she married the musician Jiri Hosek. She has two children, three grandchildren and lives to this day in the flat where she was born.

Publication date
  • Biography and Memoir
  • History
Format TPS
203 x 140mm
20 illustrations by the author, in black and white
W.W. Norton & Company Inc
Helga Weiss
Helga Weiss
Helga Weiss
Audio (Unabridged)
Helga Weiss
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