Diaries and Memoirs as a Historical Source - The Diary and Memoir of a Rabbi at the “Konin House of Bondage”
Farbstein presents a comparison between a diary written over a period of eighteen months by the rabbi of Sanniki, Rabbi Yehoshua Aharonson, during his incarceration together with members of his community in the Konin labor camp, and the memoirs which the rabbi wrote immediately after the war, when the diary was thought to be lost. The comparison reveals an extraordinary resemblance between the two documents. Any amplification in the memoirs is aimed at clarification and elucidation of incidents which the author, through force of circumstances, was unable to enlarge upon while writing the diary. Concurrent with the description of everyday life in the camp are details of the questions and deliberations that preoccupied the prisoners in general and the rabbi-cum-author in particular: a discussion of ethical and halakhic questions of the moment and details of one of the most unusual events to take place in the camps – the collective suicide in the summer of 1943 of the Jewish camp leaders during an attempt to torch the camp on the eve of its liquidation, after they had determined that armed rebellion was impracticable.