Nina Siegal author of ‘The Diary Keepers’
March 20, 2024 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Come participate in the Cleveland Jewish Book Festival and see Nina Siegal, author of The Diary Keepers!
Based on select writings from a collection of more than two thousand Dutch diaries written during World War II, The Diary Keepers illuminates a part of history we haven’t seen in quite this way before, from the stories of a Nazi-sympathizing police officer to a Jewish journalist who documented daily activities at a transport camp. Journalist Nina Siegal, who grew up in a family that had survived the Holocaust in Europe, had always wondered about the experience of regular people during World War II. She had heard stories of the war as a child and Anne Frank’s diary, but the tales were either crafted as moral lessons—to never waste food, to be grateful for all you receive, to hide your silver—or told with a punch line. The details of the past went untold in an effort to make it easier to assimilate into American life. When Siegal moved to Amsterdam as an adult, those questions came up again, as did another horrifying one: Why did seventy five percent of the Dutch Jewish community perish in the war, while in other Western European countries the proportions were significantly lower? Searching and singular, The Diary Keepers mines the diaries of ordinary citizens to understand the nature of resistance, the workings of memory, and the ways we reflect on, commemorate, and re-envision the past.
This project is part of the Cleveland Jewish Book Festival and was funded in part by an Ohio Humanities Ignite Grant.