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Wilhelm Filderman: Memoirs and Diaries, volume 2 – 1940-1952

Editor: Jean Ancel | Revised and annotated by Leon Volovici and Miriam Caloianu


Written in a Barn: The Diary of a Young Woman from Vilna

Ruth Leimenzon Engles| Edited by Ben-Tsiyon Klibansky


At last, I have gotten a notebook in which to write. I have a pencil. I will try. Maybe it will make it easier to push through the days. It’s hard for me. As soon as dawn breaks, my first thought is: how does one endure until the end of the day.
Ruth Leimenzon Engles, May 15, 1944

A few days after the Germans occupied Vilna at the end of June 1941, Ruth Leimenzon’s husband was seized by local collaborators and was never seen again. Ruth, the sole survivor of her murdered family, managed to survive two years in the ghetto using her intelligence and common sense, helped by luck and perhaps miracles. Just two days before the ghetto’s liquidation in September 1943, Ruth escaped with the help of a Christian woman, her former boss’ wife, and found a hiding place in a barn on a farm 20 kilometers from Vilna, where she hid for nearly a year. During the last two months in the barn, Ruth wrote a diary in Yiddish describing her three-year ordeal.