Rywka Lipszyc was a young teenager struggling with brutal conditions of death, disease, hunger, and fear in the Łódź Ghetto in Poland during the Nazi Occupation of World War II. She and her siblings were crowded into an apartment with three orphaned young female cousins, lit by a single 15-watt bulb. She sewed in one of the Ghetto’s many small factories to earn food rations, and participated in clandestine classes. Her parents were killed: her father from a German beating and her mother from disease and malnutrition. In 1942, her brother and a sister were taken away. When the Ghetto was liquidated in 1944, Rywka survived deportation to the Auschwitz death camp, where her sister was killed; then a forced labor camp and a six-week death march to Bergen-Belsen. Hospitalized in Germany after the liberation, she was considered too sick to go to Sweden for recovery with her cousins. She filled out a Displaced Persons card, saying she wanted to go to Palestine. Then she disappeared and her fate is unknown.
Her diary, written between October 3, 1943, and April 12, 1944, was found in 1945 in the ruins of Auschwitz by a Russian doctor, who took it back to the Soviet Union. Some 70 years later, The Diary of Rywka Lipszyc: Writings of a Jewish Girl from the Lodz Ghetto, edited by Anita Friedman, was originally published by Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, in partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.