I Am Writing These Words to You
The Original Diaries, Będzin 1943
Chajka Klinger | Editor: Avihu Ronen
I Am Writing These Words to You reveals Chajka Klingers’ soul-searching response to the existential conflicts that plagued her while writing her diaries. Still in the grip of the nightmare of the last deportation, of torture by the Gestapo, and of the death of her comrades, she had no idea if anyone would read her words. Chajka Klinger (1917–1958), who was born into a Hasidic family, joined Hashomer Hatzair and became a major activist in the Jewish Fighting Organization (ŻOB) in Będzin. She was chosen by her comrades to survive and to document their history to ensure their memory. “Condemned to live,” she fulfilled her obligation to them by writing her diaries in hiding in 1943. Chajka Klinger’s diaries are among the earliest comprehensive documents to reach the Jewish public outside of occupied Poland during the war. The notebooks provide a window into the activities of the Jewish youth movements during the Holocaust, and convey vastly important information about the ŻOB in Będzin and in Warsaw, the relationships between the underground organizations and the Judenrat, the response of the Jewish public to the extermination, and about Mordechai Anielewicz. They are also a primary source of information about the battles in the ghettos. In March 1944, Chajka immigrated to Eretz Israel, where she attempted to rebuild her life on Kibbutz Haogen, but despite her tenacious efforts, her strength gave out in April 1958, and on the fifteenth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, she put an end to her life. Her diaries were published posthumously in a shortened and censored edition. Published in full for the first time, this volume contains the English translation of the original diaries. Chajka’s son Prof. Avihu Ronen edited the volume and provided an introduction and annotations that shed light on the circumstances under which Chajka Klinger wrote, and offer a greater understanding of her fate and that of her underground comrades.