Farmington Hills museum exhibit reveals ‘Girl in the Diary’

The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills hosts “The Girl in the Diary: Searching for Rywka from the Łódź Ghetto,” an exhibition on display from July 29 through December 30.

In 1945, a Soviet doctor found a school notebook in the liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp. It belonged to Rywka Lipszyc, a teenager in the Łódź Ghetto, between October 1943 and April 1944.

The contents were the testament of a Jewish girl who lost her siblings and parents, but never lost hope despite moments of doubt. After 60 years, the diary traveled to the United States, where it was translated from Polish, supplemented with commentaries and published.

In the exhibit, expert commentary supplements selected excerpts of the diary. 

“Rywka’s Holocaust experience is a compelling story because it gives us insight into the individual experiences of so many others,” said Holocaust Memorial Center Education Director Ruth Bergman. “Her daily struggles, interests, and fears allow us to get to know Rywka as a person, not a statistic. We are very fortunate to have this exhibit on display at our museum.”

Historical objects from the Łódź Ghetto and Chełmno (Kulmhof) Death Camp on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, also help document the personal dimensions of the Holocaust.

“Objects like this are especially important as the years continue to pass,” said Derek Hastings, an associate professor of history at Oakland University. “They remind us once again that despite the massive scope of the Holocaust, the individual victims were anything but faceless. Rywka’s deeply personal reflections — especially regarding her faith — are poignant and moving.”

Hastings will speak at 7 p.m. on September 1 about the time in history when Rywka penned her diary. His lecture, titled “A Girl Lost, A Diary Found: Life in the Łódź Ghetto,” gives an up-close and historical perspective on the brutal conditions. The program at the Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills, will also stream live at holocaustcenter.org.

To register to attend the lecture in person or virtually, visit holocaustcenter.org/diary.

For more information, visit holocaustcenter.org or call 248-553-2400.

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