The Unforgotten: New Voices of the Holocaust

Learn About Renia Spiegel, the Author of an Unforgettable Holocaust Diary, by Hearing From Her Family Who Survived

In an event held at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Bellak recalls the remarkable story of her sister

Renia in Skole in the 1930s (Courtesy of the Bellak family)

Although Anne Frank is the most well-known victim of the Holocaust, she was not the only young Jewish girl who left a powerful record behind. Smithsonian magazine recently translated the diary of Renia Spiegel, an 18-year-old girl who spent her final days imprisoned in a ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland.

In the video below, in an event co-hosted by the Smithsonian and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, watch Renia's family discuss Renia’s dramatic story, which ranges from romance to terror. Her sister, Elizabeth Bellak, known as “the Shirley Temple of Poland,” will give her own firsthand account of Renia’s plight and legacy. Alexandra Zapruder, an expert on wartime diaries, which continue to be written by young people to this day, joins the panel as well.

The event was held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on November 8, 2018. Watch the recording here, starting at the 13:50 mark).


  • Alexandra Bellak, niece of diarist Renia Spiegel
  • Elizabeth Bellak, sister of diarist Renia Spiegel
  • Alexandra Zapruder, Author of Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust and Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film; currently guest curator for And Still I Write: Young Diarists on War and Genocide opening spring 2020 at Holocaust Museum Houston

Moderator: Dr. Edna Friedberg, Museum Historian, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum


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