VOICES FROM THE BIALYSTOK GHETTO
About the Book
For more than 70 years a diary that was written in Bialystok during World War II was virtually unnoticed and about to be discarded with trash when someone looked inside and discerned its historic value. It was written between 1939 and 1943 by young David Spiro (in Polish Dawid Szpiro) who probably died during his city’s ghetto uprising against the Nazis. The diary described life in the city during Russian and then German governance from the perspective of an ordinary young man - certainly not a charismatic leader. As David explained, “If someone reads my diary in the future, will they be able to believe something like that? Surely not, they will say poppycock and lies, but this is the truth, disgusting and terrible; for me it’s a reality.” With permission from the current owners, much of David Spiro’s poignant first-hand account is reproduced here along with memoirs written by other Bialystokers who lived and mostly died during those terrible times.
About the Author
Michael Nevins is a retired physician and medical historian who has long been interested in studying his family’s roots. During the 1890s his paternal grandparents immigrated to New York City from Dabrowa Bialostocka, a small town in then czarist Russia. Based on his research, in 1982 Dr. Nevins published a memorial book about the shtetl’s lost Jewish community and after three recent visits to his family’s homeland, he became interested in Polish-Jewish history in a broader context. This book was prompted by reading a recently discovered diary that had been written by a young man who died in the Bialystok ghetto during World War II.