HOLOCAUST STUDIES / HISTORY
GIRL WITH TWO LANDSCAPES
The Wartime Diary of Lena Jedwab,
Lena Jedwab Rozenberg
She said goodbye to her parents, her brother, and her sister and set off to enjoy two months in the country. That was the last time she ever saw her family. In June 1941, sixteen-year-old Lena Jedwab from Bialystok arrived at summer camp in Russia—just when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
Shortly after, stranded by war in a children's home in Russia, Lena began to keep a diary, which she kept until the end of World War II. The diary chronicles her personal experiences of loneliness, pain, confusion, and her desire for love and recognition and also shows us vivid pictures of the world in which she lived and the world she had lost.
Lena wrote her diary in Yiddish, not only because it was her mother tongue, but also as a conscious effort to maintain her Jewish identity. Her writing shows exceptional literary talent, full of subtlety and sensitivity, and by using that talent she has left us a moving testimony to some of history's darkest days.
"Not since The Diary of Anne Frank, has there been such a personalized
account by an adolescent girl caught up in the turmoil and terror of World War II.
Girl with Two Landscapes is an incredibly important and highly prized
addition to Judaic Studies and Holocaust literature."
"Like Anne Frank, Etty Hillesum and Hannah Senesh, Lena Jedwab kept a diary during World
War Two. Unlike them, she survived the Holocaust. Indeed, she was part of the largest group
of European Jews to escape: between 1941 and 1945, an estimated 250,000 Eastern European Jews
found refuge from the Nazis in the Soviet Union. Her journal is an important contribution to
understanding this little-known aspect of Holocaust History. Originally published in Yiddish
in 1999, it has been masterfully translated by Solon Beinfeld, with helpful introductions by
Irena Klepfisz and Jan Gross."
"A powerful story of survival, Girl with Two Landscapes is also a story of an education. In a clear, courageous voice,
Lena Jedwab Rozenberg tells how she, as an adolescent, overcame her wartime sufferings in Russia and the loss of her family and
her world. These Yiddish diaries, skillfully translated into English by Solon Beinfeld, inspire the reader with Rozenberg's hunger
for learning and her humanity. As Irena Klepfisz states in her excellent Foreword, Rozenberg enriches our understanding of the
experiences of young Jewish women in Nazi Europe. We should all read Girl with Two Landscapes alongside the more famous writings
of Anne Frank and Hannah Senesh."
"Lena Rozenberg's diary is direct and simple, yet full of universal truths. The reader accompanies Lena through all the vagaries of her
fate and thus reaches a more thorough understanding of what we call the human condition. Lena's diary moved me deeply."
"What is important about the diary are its lessons in how to live despite devastating
losses. It raises deep questions about what a human being needs in order to survive
times of deprivation and loss."
"The articulate voice of this talented teenager has now been
translated into English... providing a wider audience for a
remarkable diary that documents [Lena's] despair as well as her
fierce determination to live and thrive."
“The text serves as witness to her [Lena’s] noble and ultimately successful personal struggle to preserve her Yiddish and her Jewish identity, despite the continuing attempts at Soviet Communist indoctrination. Clearly, Yiddish for Lena, is her last link with the family and friends with whom she hopes to be reunited after the war---whom we know she will never see again. …..
“An insightful, beautifully written entry into the world of a Jewish teen at a time of ultimate stress.”
“Her writing expresses her experiences of loneliness, pain, confusion, and her desire for love and recognition. She shares vivid pictures of both the world she lived in and the one that was gone forever. Lena wrote her diary Yiddish, not only because it was her mother tongue, but also as a conscious effort to maintain her Jewish Identity. Lena’s writing shows an exceptional literary talent full of subtlety and sensitivity, and by pursuing that talent she has left us a moving testimony to one of history’s darkest times.”
October 2002 • 218 pp • photographs, map
ISBN 0-8419-1427-3 (cloth) • $24.95