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Excerpt: 'Rutka's Notebook'

January 19, 1943

I cannot grasp that it is already 1943, four years since this hell began. The days pass by quickly; each day looks just like the previous one. Every day it's the same frozen and oppressive boredom. There is great excitement in town. A lot of people are about to leave for "the land of our forefathers," to Palestine. Among these happy people are Syma, Bomek and Ran. I don't know how to explain the feeling that overcame me when I learned about it. It must have been mixed feelings of joy and jealousy. We too live in the hope of getting papers. I think that if this happens, I will be extremely sad to leave Bedzin. As if I am unconsciously curious to know what will happen here ... I am now reading a wonderful book called Julian [A]Postata and The Grave of the Unknown Soldier by Strug. This book reflects my thoughts. I want to completely immerse myself in books, in good, philosophical books. One of the books that really got on my nerves was The Golem by Gustav Meyerink. It was a story about the visions of Golem, a man who had lost his mind. I don't really know whether I believe in ghosts or not. In moments of great anxiety, faith in things that are beyond this world is my rock I can lean on. I like to think about matters concerning the afterlife and other mysterious thoughts.

January 27, 1943

I already had my photo taken. I wonder if it looks good. Although usually I don't look pretty in photographs, in reality I am very beautiful. I'll give you a detailed description of my body. Well, I'm tall, thin, with pretty nice legs, very thin at the waist, I've got elongated hands but ugly, or more accurately, uncared-for fingernails. I have big black eyes, thick brown eyebrows and long eyelashes, even very long. Black hair, trimmed short and combed back, small but pug nose, nicely outlined lips, snow-white teeth — and there's my portrait. I would like to pour out on paper all the turmoil I am feeling inside, but I'm absolutely incapable...

February 20, 1943

I have a feeling that I am writing for the last time. There is an Aktion in town. I'm not allowed to go out and I'm going crazy, imprisoned in my own house... For a few days, something's in the air... The town is breathlessly waiting in anticipation, and this anticipation is the worst of all. I wish it would end already! This torment; this is hell. I try to escape from these thoughts of the next day, but they keep haunting me like nagging flies...

April 5, 1943

Well, I've started working. The days go by; every day it's the same, grizzly days. I work from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's tolerable. The work is quite easy, it's working out somehow. I'm extremely tired, and I feel like sleeping all the time. Jumek has been deported; Mietek saw him and sent me his regards. I feel very sorry for him. He was a good guy. I don't feel like writing anymore.

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