Dallas exhibit features powerful stories from teen Holocaust victim's diary

A powerful new exhibit is open at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum inspired by the diary of a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in a Polish ghetto.

The story behind the Girl in the Diary exhibit goes back to 1945. That’s when the diary was found in the ashes of a destroyed crematorium of Auschwitz.

That diary belonged to 14-year-old Rywka Lipszyc.

"Rywka is a girl, a teenager. And I think that’s one of the things people will be surprised with. She’s strong. She can be mean. She can be tough. She’s persistent. She’s devoted to God," said Jakub Nowakowski, the exhibit’s co-curator.

Rywka’s diary is the story of a child who lost her siblings and parents but held on to her faith.

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It has been translated into English and supplemented with commentary from historians, doctors, psychologists and rabbis.

It also has original artifacts and fleeting candid photos of others who lived in the Litzmannstadt ghetto in Poland.

It’s a very different story than that of Anne Frank, the most well-known diary documentation from the Holocaust.

Rywka’s story is that of the more typical Jewish family.

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"Anne Frank came from a wealthy assimilated family that was able to flee German and move to Holland. She was hidden and she had a horrific experience but was with her family. Rywka was from a lower income family and was moved into the ghetto," said Mary Pat Higgins, the museum’s president and CEO.

The goal is to help reconstruction her life and what might have happened to her after she was sent to Auschwitz. 

There are no known photos of her, so the exhibit paints her life based on her written account, with photos of other Jews from that time, in the hopes that they will not be forgotten.

The Girl in the Diary exhibit runs through the end of the year. For more information, visit www.dhhrm.org/the-girl-in-the-diary/.