We are the bleeding clouds, and from the seas of blood have we come...We are witnesses...we were brought into being by an inferno of suffering; and we are a sign of peace to you. --Moshe Ze'ev Flinker, Age 17
On the eve of Passover, 1944, shortly after he wrote these words, Moshe and his family were betrayed to the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz. Like the other four diarists in this book, he did not survive the war. But their words did. Written in the midst of "an inferno of suffering," these fragile yet powerful records are a "sign of peace" to all of us.
Each diary reveals one voice, one teenager coping with the impossible. We see David Rubinowicz struggling against fear and terror in Poland. Yitzhak Rudashevski in Lithuania shows us how Jews clung to culture, to learning, and to hope, until there was no hope at all. In Belgium, Moshe is the voice of religion, constantly seeking answers from God for relentless tragedy. Finally, in Hungary, Eva Heyman demonstrates the unquenchable hunger for life that sustained her until the very last moment. Yet We Are Witnesses is not just about any single victim in the Holocaust.
Author Jacob Boas, who was born in the same camp to which Anne Frank was sent, ends by discussing her famous diary. Looking back at the other four through Anne, and at Anne with fresh eyes after the others, we see the largest truth they all left for us: Hitler could kill millions, but he could not destroy the human spirit. These stark accounts of how five young people faced the worst of human evil are a testament, and an inspiration, to the best in the human soul.