Distributed by Publishers Group Canada
This diary is an account of Petr Ginz's life as a 14 year old boy in the time of the Holocaust. It is written in a wonderfully - and often heartbreaking - open and frank style that couldn't possibly fail to touch the reader deeply.
The events, which led to the discovery of this diary, are almost as fascinating as the book itself. The following is taken from the back of the book:
In 2003, before setting out on the ill-fated Columbia space shuttle, Ilan Ramon - the first-ever Israeli astronaut and a son of Auschwitz survivors - sought to bring something on his voyage to commemorate the Holocaust. At the suggestion of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, he took Moon Landscape, a small drawing made in 1942 by a Prague teenager, Petr Ginz who died in Auschwitz.
After the shuttle's tragic explosion on February 1, 2003 - what would have been Ginz's seventy-fifth birthday - news reports of the teenage prodigy and his painting reached Prague, where a man made a startling discovery: he was in possession of Ginz's wartime diary, which had been hidden away in his attic for decades. Soon thereafter, the diary made its way to Petr's sister, Chava Pressburger, who instantly recognized her brother's handwriting and his playful but precociously perceptive voice in its pages. The diary has since been published throughout Europe, where it has moved thousands of readers and become an international best seller.
I liked that the book is sprinkled throughout with some of Petr Ginz's artwork and the drawings are just incredible. It's a great pity that he died so young, as I could see from the artwork, and from his writing, that he had a great deal to offer the world. I think the thing that struck me most, was the fact that regardless of how tough life became, he was dedicated to learning and exploring culture. He comes across as so much older than his actual years. His knowledge of music and authors is great and it is clear in the entries where he discusses school, that he is probably the brightest student in the class, if not the whole school.
This was a fantastic book and I loved that Petr's sister added notes throughout to explain the background a little on some days, and shares extra information about this wonderful boy.
The Diary of Petr Ginz is one of my favourite reads of the year. I can't imagine anyone reading this book and not being incredibly moved by it.