Lena Jedwab

Girl With Two Landscapes: The Wartime Diary of Lena Jedwab, 1941-1945, translated by Solon Beinfeld (White Goat Press, 2023)

A powerful story of survival, [...] a story of an education.
Kathryn Hellerstein

In June, 1941, sixteen-year-old Lena Jedwab left Bialystok for summer camp in Russia - just when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Stranded by war in a children's home in Russia, Lena agonized over the unknown fate of her family and her precarious future. Lucky to be alive, nourished, and in school, yet consumed with anger at the war and the confusion of adolescence, Lena began to keep a diary. The diary chronicles her personal experiences of loneliness, pain, fear, and desire for love and recognition, as well as a vivid description of the world in which she then lived. Lena wrote her diary in Yiddish, not only because it was her mother tongue, but also as a conscious effort to maintain her Jewish identity. Her writing shows an exceptional literary talent, full of subtlety and sensitivity, and by using that talent, she has left us a moving testimony to one of history's darkest times.

What the Critics Say

"What is important about the diary are its lessons in how to live despite devastating losses. It raises deep questions about what a human being needs in order to survive times of deprivation and loss."
The Jewish Advocate

"The articulate voice of this talented teenager has now been translated into English... providing a wider audience for a remarkable diary that documents [Lena's] despair as well as her fierce determination to live and thrive."
Jewish Currents

"An insightful, beautifully written entry into the world of a Jewish teen at a time of ultimate stress."
Jewish Book World

"Not since The Diary of Anne Frank, has there been such a personalized account by an adolescent girl caught up in the turmoil and terror of World War II. Girl with Two Landscapes is an incredibly important and highly prized addition to Judaic Studies and Holocaust literature."
Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Lena Jedwab Rozenberg was born in 1924 to a Jewish family in Bialystok, Poland. In 1941, when she was 16, war broke out between Germany and the Soviet Union and the summer camp where she was working was evacuated. Lena ended up in a children’s home in western Russia, isolated from friends and family, until 1943 when she began her studies in Moscow. She kept a diary, in Yiddish, from 1941 to 1945, where she reflected on the fate of her family (years after the war she learned that they were murdered at Treblinka) and her own future. Lena’s diary was originally published in Yiddish in 1999 and has since been translated into other languages. She died in 2005.

About the Translator

Solon (Sholem) Beinfeld was born in Bronx, New York, in 1934. Beinfeld received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and taught for many years in the History Department at Washinton University in St. Louis. He also served as Visiting Professor at Tufts University. His work in Holocaust history has centered on ghettoes of Lithuania. He served as consultant for the film "Partisans of Vilna" and for the "Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto" exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is a translator, lexicographer, and coeditor in chief of the Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary (2013).