And Yet, I Am Here!
The powerful story of a young woman's journey through the Holocaust
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Halina Nelken was a precocious fifteen-year-old, living a middle-class life in Krakow. Like other girls her age, she recorded her personal observations and feelings in a diary. As conditions in Krakow deteriorated and her family was forced into the Jewish ghetto, she continued to write, eventually smuggling her diary out with a Catholic friend. This remarkable book tells the story of Nelken's experiences in the ghetto and later in eight Nazi concentration camps, including Plaszow, Auschwitz, and Ravensbröck. Her diary entries, written between 1938 and 1943, form the core of the volume and are supplemented by recollections written shortly after the war, and by later commentaries and explanatory notes which she added in the mid-1980s. Although there exist numerous published and unpublished memoirs by Holocaust survivors, Nelken's book presents one of the few extant diaries written at the time. Already released in Polish and German editions, it has been hailed as one of the finest works of its kind. Now it is available in English for the first time.
"A priceless document of rare value and importance, which allows the reader and the historian of the period to comprehend more clearly the psychological plight of the people locked in the ghetto, through the personal experience and thorough self-analysis of a young girl."—Gideon Hausner, chief prosecutor,
Eichman trial, and author of Justice in Jerusalem
"Nelken's diary is one of the most important to survive from the Second World War. Written by a young girl from a protected and privileged background, it gives a unique and moving account of the Nazi occupation and of the experience of the camps of Plaszow and Auschwitz. . . . There are many memoirs and diaries of the Holocaust, but few with such immediacy and with such a genuine voice."—Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University