The Sister She Never Knew

Two months ago, Yad Vashem published the diary of Rutka Laskier, a Jewish girl from Poland who, at the age of 14, died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Over the course of a few months in 1943, Rutka kept a diary while living in a ghetto in the town of Bedzin, about 20 miles from Auschwitz. She wrote about her first love, but also about the gas chambers. For 60 years, her Christian friend Stanislawa Sapinska preserved the diary. She and Rutka had agreed that Rutka would hide her diary under the stairs of her house and Sapinska would retrieve it after the war. In 2005, Sapinska decided to make it available to the public.

Rutka’s father, Yaacov, was the only family member to survive the Holocaust. He immigrated to Israel, remarried and had another daughter, Zahava Scherz, who works in Rehovot as a director of science and education communication at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She recently sat down with the Forward to discuss the sister she never met.

Written by

Serge Debrebant

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