Photograph of the water tower of the Old Town Mills in Prague. After her deportation to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, Helene Reik yearned to record what was happening to her. This photograph was sent to Helene, who used it as paper for her diary in Theresienstadt. Helene’s makeshift diary offers wistful memories of her husband and parents who died before the war, loving thoughts of her family who had left Europe in 1939, and a firsthand account of the illness and hospitalization that ultimately led to her death. Because resources were scarce in the Theresienstadt ghetto, Helene recorded her thoughts, recollections, and diary entries in the margins and on the backs of family pictures that she had brought with her, as well as postcards and letters she received while in the ghetto.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Elizabeth Margosches
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