Farmington Hills museum hosts ‘Girl in the Diary’ exhibit

The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills hosts “The Girl in the Diary: Searching for Rywka from the Łódź Ghetto,” in cooperation with the Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków, Poland, through December 30.

In 1945, a Soviet doctor found a school notebook in the liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp. The diary written by Rywka Lipszyc, a teenager in the Łódź Ghetto, between October 1943 and April 1944, is the testament of a Jewish girl who lost her siblings and parents, but never lost hope despite moments of doubt. More than 60 years after its discovery, the diary traveled to the United States, where it was translated from Polish, supplemented with commentaries and published in book form.

Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council
Page from Rywka's Diary
A page from Rywka’s Diary. (Holocaust Memorial Center)

Expert commentary supplements selected diary excerpts. They help readers understand the context of the times and events to which Rywka refers.

“Rywka’s Holocaust experience is a compelling story because it gives us insight into the individual experiences of so many others. 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,” Holocaust Memorial Center Education Director Ruth Bergman said in a press release.

A September 1, 7 p.m., opening program features Derek Hastings, associate professor of history at Oakland University, who will speak about the time in history when Rywka penned her diary. “A Girl Lost, A Diary Found: Life in the Łódź Ghetto” gives a historical perspective on the brutal conditions of the Łódź ghetto. The lecture begins at 7 p.m., at 28123 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills.

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The exhibition also includes unique historical artifacts and documents from museums in Poland, the United States, Israel, Germany and Belgium. Historical objects from the Łódź Ghetto and Chełmno (Kulmhof) Death Camp are on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland.

“Objects like this are especially important as the years continue to pass,” said Hastings. “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.”

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