Petr Ginz: A 13-year-old's diary of a Holocaust on the horizon





The first sign that things aren't quite right comes when Jews are required to wear a badge, a black and yellow star of David, on the outside of their clothes. And yet 13-year-old Petr Ginz remains wryly amused, writing in his diary: "When I went to school, I counted sixty-nine 'sheriffs.' "

Such is the life of a young Czechoslovakian Jewish boy living in Prague in 1941, and it is a life that Petr meticulously documented in his diary until he was sent on a transport to Theresienstadt and, ultimately, to his death in an Auschwitz gas chamber two years later.

On Sunday, to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day, Atlantic Monthly Press will officially release Petr's story, "The Diary of Petr Ginz: 1941-1942."...

The publication adds another adolescent voice to the literature of the Holocaust. If Anne Frank's diary is her friend and confidante, full of flowery prose and hopes and dreams, Petr's offers an unsentimental perspective on his changing world, and one that fits his personality: half scientist, half reporter and all, still, little boy.

"I think one of the reasons Petr wrote so laconically every day what happened was more that he wanted to make a document, like a newspaper writer," said his sister, Chava Pressburger, 77, who edited the diaries and wrote the book's introduction.

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