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Yitzchak Rudashevski

Born: December 10th, 1927
Died: Believed to have died in the Ponary massacre in October 1943
Parents: Eliyahu (Father) and Rosa (Mother)
Career Interest: Unknown
Diary Title: The Diary of the Vilna Ghetto: June 1941 – April 1943

“The first great tragedy. People are harnessed to bundles which they drag across the pavement. People fall, bundles scatter. Before me a woman bends under her bundle. From the bundle a thin string of rice keeps pouring over the street…I think of nothing: not what I am losing, not what I have just lost, not what is in store for me. I do not see the streets before me, the people passing by. I only feel that I am terribly weary, I feel that an insult, a hurt is burning inside me. Here is the ghetto gate. I feel that I have been robbed, my freedom is being robbed from me, my home, and the familiar Vilna streets I love so much. I have been cut off from all that is dear and precious to me.”

– Yitzchak Rudashevski [1]

Yitzchak Rudashevski was held within the Vilna Ghetto during World War II. Yitzchak is only 15 years old when he is shot and killed during the Ponary massacre. He was a young writer who wrote about his experiences during World War II, and his eventual capture into the ghetto. Yitzchak often wrote about his love for the Red Army in his diary, and as such his youthful aspirations would be cut short. Yitzchak was able to join clubs within the ghetto for literature and other interests he had, but they would get cut short when the Nazis began to crackdown on the ghetto. Yitzchak was a fighter in and out, and his writing was always geared towards the reality versus fiction. He recognized the suffering, but he tried his best to prepare for the future.

A keynote in Rudashevski’s diary is how he approaches the lives of those he loved. He wrote several eulogies in his diary that describe the lives of those he respected and were lost at the hands of the Nazis. Rudashevski’s intelligence shows through his understanding of the situation in the Vilna Ghetto and also in his resistance and desire to learn.

[1] Yitzchak Rudashevski – The Diary of the Vilna Ghetto: June 1941 – April 1943 – Publisher: Ghetto Fighter’s House