Hey fellow reedsy writers! Before you dive into this story (or don't) I just want to set it up a bit to avoid any confusion. This is a story following the perspective of a certain journal, or diary whatever you like, during World War 2. I do like this idea but I'm not the best at writing down whatever thoughts are going through my head, so if anyone has some critisism please share I would love to get some feedback. Enjoy!
13/06/1943; Naples, Italy
Well, this is going to be the last time I write in this journal. Or diary. I still don’t know the difference. It’s been almost a month since I found it, and it saddens me to leave it. Roberto said that the Germans cleared the house five doors down (he climbs up onto the roof and sees what’s going on from there), so they would soon reach our building. I’m going to throw this book out the window in hopes that someone else will find it, since it wasn’t mine in the first place, and I won’t have much use for it on the run. And hopefully someone will enjoy it as much as I have, since boredom is the main killer in hiding.
But I have learned a lot on the road, so for whoever is going to read this I hope that you will find some of the things I have learned on the way without any losses. Anyway, I’ll write as many as I can down until the others are done getting ready, so here goes;
- Always stay in groups no matter where you go. A week ago we had someone leave to go to the bathroom without a partner and he never came back. Then Gianna, my cousin went to find him also alone and now we're missing two people and have no idea what happened to them. At least if you have a partner, someone can try and run away to the group and tell the others what happened, so that the others don’t need to go on an excursion just to find one person.
- Food. Food, food, food, food. It’s the number one thing you should think of when gathering supplies. Not only does it give everyone energy to keep running from the Nazis, but an empty stomach leads to a bad mood. And negative emotions can cloud your jugment, and it allows you to do stupid things you never would have done otherwise.
- There are two things you can do with your pride. Either hide your Jewish identity and live out in the open with false identification papers and an entirely new identity, or you can refuse to be someone you aren’t (or maybe you just can’t afford new papers) and go into hiding. There isn’t some compromise where you can do both, it’s either one or the other, I learned this the hard way. But as you can probably guess I chose option two, and while it is riskier I can’t pretend I’m somebody I am not. And if you are in Naples and reading this, I’m guessing you took the same path as me (and I admire your courage).
That’s all I can write for now, Roberto told me we were leaving two minutes ago so I’m already holding them back. I wish whoever finds this luck, and hopefully in a few years we shall all be saved. Every day I am scared, terrified even, but the most important thing you can hold onto during these times is hope. Hope that somebody who you can trust will help you, hope that not all the Germans are bad and hope that someone will put a bullet in Adolf Hitler’s skull, whether it’s the Italians, British, French, Canadian, American or anyone else. Because in the end, we are all in this together. Anna Aurora, out. :)
01/09/1944; Naples, Italy
Dear diary (?), I just found this book. Not sure if I’m supposed to start with Dear diary, maybe it’s a journal or something, I’ve never owned one of these. I was passing by an alley and found it under a box looking for food, and it somehow managed to survive more than a year of rain, fog and the occasional snow. I took it and went into the house beside it, and I snuck through a window with a crack in the glass. That’s when I met the others in here, and they took me in with open arms. I would not have survived long if I hadn’t met them, and I was lucky I could rely on their hospitality. Not that it was actually their house.
They were all Jewish except for Leon who’s german but ran away with the others. I wouldn’t have trusted him on my own but he’s actually very nice, it was him that gave me a pen to write. In total were now a small army of six (ha ha), Leon, Noam, Fishel, Pietro, Lavinia and finally me.
Anyway, I've been here about a week and with all honesty I forgot I was carrying this till today. But since I have nothing better to do I decided to start not only writing but reading, which paid off since I have now discovered so much about this small booklet. From what I read, the first time it was written was by a girl named Anita in 1939, almost five years ago. She wrote almost daily for about two years and then it went silent, and a boy named Silvestro picked it up in 1941. Since then there have been almost half a dozen kids who found this book, all of different ages and sides during this war. Some Jewish, some were just ordinary citizens, some were even with the Nazis.
It must be some kind of miracle that it’s still intact, and that so many people knew others would have a use for it. But it was a really fun thing to flip through, keeping me occupied for a solid two hours and there were quite a few useful things in here too, like the last person to have written in here, a girl named Anna, had given a few useful tips that I could share with the group.
Well, I’m done for now, I’ll try and write some more tomorrow. I know Noam was hoping for a few of us to go out and see what we can see, if there are still soldiers outside, if there is anyone else in hiding, etc…
-Naomi Carmel (Am I supposed to sign my name every time? Some of the others did but not all of them.)
I did it (I decided not to start with dear diary, it sounds like I’m a five year old)!
I managed to write two days in a row. We heard some banging on the door an hour ago which resulted in a yelp on my part, but it quickly ceased so hopefully whoever was there didn’t hear me.
Other than that nothing major has changed in the last twenty-four hours. Noam helped all of us climb onto the roof one at a time (an idea I got from Anna the previous writer), so that we could see our surroundings from above. We are currently under the warmth of the sun but an enormous dark cloud was hurtling towards us a few miles away, so we’ll probably be getting a serious rainfall soon, as well as some harsh winds. Actually, just as I wrote the word winds a loud and powerful gust of air hit the side of the house.
When looking down at the streets we could see a few stranglers darting from one side of the street to the other, away from the eyesight of the few german soldiers that were on the street. Tunneled clouds of smoke rose from several areas in the neighbourhood we were in, as well as far in the horizon. When we came back in w- oh my god they're here I have to go!
Wow. It’s been about 36 hours and I haven’t had even one unbothered hour of sleep. It’s been total chaos. I guess whoever knocked on the door did hear my yelp, because right when I was writing a tremendous crash was heard indicating the main door of the house we had been hiding in was knocked down, and then there were several booming voices speaking german. We were lucky to be in a room upstairs because we had another few seconds to make our escape. Noam led us onto the roof but Leon and Pietro both stayed to hold the door. Although when we were on the roof ready to make our next move we heard the soldiers break through the door and flood the room to the shouts of Pietro and Loam. I managed to not make a sound, and so did the others, but just barely. Once they left apparently thinking those two were the only people hiding we made our way back in and ran.
Now, I’m writing under a bridge, sheltered from an enormous downpour with the task of watching over three sleeping adults, terrified and occupied by every horrible thought I could have in my head, thinking of all the worst case scenarios. Or all that but instead of the horrible thoughts I get filled with guilt. Because all it took was a small yelp and now two complete strangers who I put all my trust in, who saved me, are dead or most likely going to die. I guess that's also not a great thought either. Part of me wonders if Leon might be accepted back into his country, since he is one of them, or if that would make it ten times worse for him being considered a traitor.
But enough with that! My shift is almost over and I want to seem like I was doing a better job of watching over them than I did, so that’s it for now and hopefully we can find a place to settle down for a bit so I can write some more!
I think this is the last time I’m going to write here. It saddens me that I won’t be able to keep writing for longer but it isn’t mine, and even if it was fun while it lasted someone else should be able to see this.
Exhausted, soaking, and frozen to the bone from several hours of running in the rain and being in the September night winds, Lavinia, Noam, Fischel and I slumped down in an alley between a bar. We had managed to cross the river (the bridge that I was previously under) by swimming across. I had thrown my back pack with this journal and it is still intact, protected by layers of clothing. The strong current with the addition of a large amount of rain had easily swept us away, but we still managed to swim across albeit travelling south hundreds of meters. The others came with me to retrieve the backpack once we made our way onto land, so we changed into new clothes.
Now in the alley, panting, an old man came out of the bar beside us and after taking one glance, he told us to follow him. We eventually came in (after several minutes of contemplation with us finally realising that we would soon die of starvation, hypothermia or just pass out of exhaustion) and he led us to the back of the counter. And that's where I am now, writing in a storage room of a bar with a plate full of food in front of me. Noam said we would only stay one night and leave in the morning. But I told the bartender to give this to someone else once I finish this last paragraph;
I might try and find another book to write in during my travels. I think that writing what is currently happening is a good distraction from the terror and worry that we all experience daily. But I hope whoever finds this book will acknowledge it and put it to good use. The events going on in the world right now have only happened once before, so maybe this will end up in a museum somewhere! If Hitler falls. But good luck, and safe travels to you all!
I just received this book from an old man. I think I can trust him, he doesn’t have a german accent and he’s proven to be kind so far, giving me food, shelter, warmth and water. My name is Avner Sith, and I am part of the third Canadian regiment on a secret mission to get as many Jewish refugees out of Naples before a suspected bombing. I was separated from my regiment and when looking for shelter I met Tulio, the old bartender. I told him what I was here for and without hesitation brought me in. I read most of the previous pages and can’t even begin to imagine some of the fear these people have been through. I’m lucky that this is my first mission (I was just recently drafted) and I’m not completely thrown into the battlefield. They chose me for this particular mission because I’m an excellent marksman and a stealthy soldier. Also I am new so possibly expendable.
But I only wanted to write so that this book can hold stories of many different points of views in this war, and to say that once I get Tulio and any other Italian citizen out, I will be giving this to the first child I can find who this journal might be of use to.
Anyway, I’m off now so I hope to meet whoever will be reading this next and that any or all violence and hate will cease. It has gotten to the point where seeing a dead body or someone being taken is a daily thing, so if not now then I don’t know when we will be able to stop. But I also give luck to these wonderful but depressing pages (as well as those who wrote in it), in hopes that it will survive through battle. That it will be passed on, this beautiful book of few.