The Holocaust
The Holocaust, also referred to as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II in which Nazi Germany lead by Hitler murdered about 6 million European Jews. View and share this collection with your class.
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50:03 | Modern history

Rutka: A Diary of a Holocaust

The History Channel

Anne Frank has achieved iconic status in the 60 years since her Diary was published in 1947. But recently, another diary has come to light with uncanny echoes of her story. This film unravels the extraordinary tale of 14 year old Polish girl Rutka Laskier, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1943, along with her brother and mother. In 2005, the school notebook in which Rutka recorded her last months in the ghetto of Bedzin was made public, six decades after she hid it under the floorboards of her home there. The film tells Rutka's story though the eyes of her half-sister, Israeli academic Zahava Scherz, who will travel back to Bedzin on a voyage of discovery. Zahava had no idea that Rutka existed until she herself was 14 and discovered a photograph of a girl who looked just like her in a family album. Rutka's father, who had made a new life in Israel after surviving the Holocaust, then told Zahava of his previous family, and how they were killed by the Nazis. It was over forty years until Zahava learned that her half-sister had kept a diary. Rutka's friend Stanislawa Sapinski had retrieved it from the pre-arranged hiding-place and preserved it for years, thinking it of only personal interest. We follow Zahava as she journeys from Israel to Poland to find out what kind of life Rutka led in Bedzin before the Nazis changed everything so brutally. She will talk to those who remember that time - including Stanislawa Sapinski and also local Holocaust historian, Adam Szydlowski. We detail life in the ghetto as witnessed by Rutka in her diary from January to April 1943: not just the Nazi atrocities, physical hardship and hunger, but also how she was developing as a young woman; her attraction - or otherwise - to young boys; enduring by turns intense fear and drear boredom; her loss of faith in God.

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