“Eliszewa” Elsa “Elisheva” Binder

Born: 1921 (?)
Died: Believed to have died in February of 1943 at Stanisławów Ghetto execution site
Siblings: Dora (Sister)
Career Interest: Unknown
Diary Title: Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust

“When fear crawls out in the evenings from all four corners, when the winter storm raging outside tells you it is winter, and that it is difficult to live in the winter, when my soul trembles at the sight of distant fantasies, I shiver and say one word with every heartbeat, every pulse, every piece of my soul—liberation. In such moments it hardly matters where it is going to come from and who will bring it, so long as it’s faster and comes sooner. Doubts are growing in my soul. Quiet! Blessed be he who brings good news, no matter from where, no matter to . . . where. Time, go ahead. Time, which carries liberation in its unknown tomorrow; not for Cip, who was happy to live in interesting times, maybe not for me, but for people like me. The result is certain. Down with any doubts. Everything comes to an end. Spring will come”

– Elsa Binder [1]

Elsa Binder was a victim of the Holocaust in the District of Galicia; she was forced into the Stanisławów Ghetto with her family. Elsa’s diary contains the thoughts of a young woman struggling to cope with the knowledge that she possess.

Elsa’s diary documents her life in the Stanisławów Ghetto. This documentation includes describing a major massacre that occurred in Stanisławów where around 12,000 Jews were killed on October 12th, 1942 [1], which she documents three months later. It is believed that the last known Jews in Stanisławów were killed on June 25th, 1943 [2]. Elsa’s diary also has memorialized some of her friends that she consistently brings up such as Samek, Ciporka, Cwijka, Zyhava, Tamara Siamka, Matylda, and Gusta. Her diary brings names to those who fell to the Nazi extermination plan.

In her diary, Elsa is often struggling with the reality of what is happening in Stanisławów. She writes, “Now, when my youth is blooming-and this happens only once for each human being-I am to die without having experienced anything good in life? Why? was it a sin to be born to a Jewish mother? Have I ever hurt anybody? Why is a man, who is my peer and whom I see for the first time in my life, my deadly enemy, why can he kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people?” [1]  Elsa struggles with this reality, but she shows hints of hope through her diary.

[1] Alexandra Zapruder (Editor) – Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust – ISBN 9780300092431

[2] JewishGen – IV. The Second World War