Tomorrow We Travel

Alisa Koyrakh at The New England Review:

I need to know more about Terezin, but I am afraid to go there. It’s only a fifty-minute train ride from Prague. Instead, I search for diaries and I find Gonda Redlich’s, translated from Hebrew into English by the late historian Saul S. Friedman. Gonda is a twenty-six-year-old who headed the children’s department at Terezin for three years and wrote regularly until his deportation to Auschwitz. I read at the office until it closes at eleven. I walk straight home, past roaming groups of drunken tourists, and continue to read in bed.

The diary is filled with torment over making sure the children have enough space, heat, food, medicine. He appoints counselors for the children’s barracks, sets up schools, and worries about a lack of good role models. He hopes to move to Israel after the war. He’s learning Hebrew and Arabic in his spare time. According to the translator, Gonda writes his entries in Hebrew as practice; his language is formal and stilted.

more here.