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We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust
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We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,312 ratings  ·  54 reviews
David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank were all teenagers during World War II. They lived in different parts of Europe. They had different lives. But they all had something in common: They were Jewish, and therefore, under Hitler's twisted rule, they were five of the six million men, women, and children sentenced to death.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published June 15th 1995)
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Jenny
Read in 2001 for the Black Diamond book club.
favorite quote: "In Germany, the Nazis came for the communists adn I didn't speak up because I was not a communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the labor unionists and I didn't speak up beaucse I was not a labor unionist. Then they came for the Catholics adn I was Protestant so I didn't speak up. Then they came fore me.... By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone."
Bradley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Antonio Rossano Mendes Pontes
Today is a cloud Sunday morning; I just had breakfast, and lay in my hammock to continue reading it. I feel devastated for David sobbing at his beloved father’s departure to a forced labor camp, without knowing the fate that waits for him there, and if he will ever see him again. Even more when Yitzack’s mother, after many other failed desperate attempts, gets a yellow pass (a pass that allows the survival of a family of four under the greatest of the beast’s Reich in Lithuania), and they rush o ...more
Nichole
Wow! I loved this book! it's about 5 different Jewish teenagers who wrote Journals and were later found after the war. The commentary is great and it's just an amazing book to hear from 4 different teenager's points of view of how they lived in the Holocaust, their lives, their thoughts and feelings, their struggles....I say 4 because Anne Frank is the epilogue and the last teenager. I skipped that because I want to be surprised when I read her diary in the original book with no commentaries. Bu ...more
J.M.
This was an interesting book. Everyone's heard of or read Anne Frank's diary, but her war-time experiences are a little bit unique because her family was in hiding. In this book, four other diaries by teenagers are discussed at length, each portraying a different aspect of what it meant to be Jewish in occupied Europe during the war. Among the other diarists were families who were forced into ghetto life, or who fled the country and pretended to be Christian to escape notice, and these stories a ...more
Katie Coci
What a poweful and wonderful book!! This book will make anyone not take life for granted. Within his book we hear from 5 teentagers, David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva and Anne and their struggle with survival during the Holocaust. This book is overflowing with emotion. Starvation, fear of death and left to die are some of the experiences that these teenagers face. Once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down. This book can used in the classroom when learning about the Holocaust. K ...more
Dana
What gets me about this book, is that the stories are real. These entries are from real teenagers who have gone through something so horrifying, and yet their stories are being told. They have a voice, that will live forever. When I was reading this book, and looking at where their families have come from, I couldn't help to think about my own family. How my family came from similar places in Europe, and it could have been anyone. This book reminded me of how we need to keep their voices alive t ...more
Austin Berry
David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank were all teenagers during World War II. They lived in different parts of Europe. They had different lives. But they all had something in common: They were Jewish, and therefore, under Hitler's twisted rule, they were five of the six million men, women, and children sentenced to death. I think this book was okay because it was very depressing but kinda cool to Learn about all of this. I would not recommend it if you ...more
Sammy
I have recently finished the book We Are Witnesses. The story was being told from the perspective of 5 teenage Jews that went through the holocaust. There names were David Rubinowez, Yitzhak Rudasherk, Moshe Flicker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank. In the book most of the people's perspectives didn't change but in David's story his perspective did change. In the beginning before his dad left he thought awful things about him. But once the dad left to the labor camp he realized how much he loved him ...more
Naone14
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Isabelle
The book We Are Witnesses by Patricia C. McKissack and Jacob Boas is a collection of diary entries during the time of The Holocaust. This book Is narrated from the perspective of five different jewish teens. (There names were, David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudasherk, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman and Anne Frank.) Throughout the pages of the characters diaries some of the perspectives change like in David's case he was never really close to his father until his father was taken to work at the labor camps ...more
Emani Price
The book was a very strong minded book. David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eve Heyman, and Anne Frank went through things that no teenager should ever go through in ther life from people calling them bad people to shooting them in feilds in Poland. My qoute for this book would be "They died because they lived and they lived because they had a reason to and they had a reason because they were Jewish." I think that their reason to live was because they had to share their story f ...more
Margi
This book consists of five diaries of teenagers who were killed in the Holocaust: David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman and Anne Frank. It is so very interesting to read how each of the teens viewed what was happening around them and to them. The five diaries are compared in the final chapter and that is really quite compelling. These children all started keeping diaries in the early or mid-teens until they were brought to an extermination camp and killed. It is also v ...more
Kiara Sulivan
I read this book for a book report at school and loved it. It was more emotionally affective then reading a regular World War II book in history class. This book Consists of five diaries written by five teenagers who died in the Holocaust. These diaries were written by Yitsak, David, Moshe, Eva, and Anne. All of these teens were pulled apart from there family and killed before they could finish the last sentence in their journals. These are all Jews and were all affected negatively by the German ...more
Hermien
A poignant analysis of the diaries of five teenagers, all different individuals in different countries but having jewishness and being persecuted in common. How sad that none of them survived.
Emily
Overall, I'm a big fan of Holocaust literature. I am continually amazed by how people responded to such a tragedy. This book left a bit to be desired. It had the potential to be powerful but didn't quite make it there. Positively, the variety of viewpoints from Jewish teenagers from a variety of backgrounds, and I liked how historical fact was intertwined with the journal excerpts. However, I did not like the organizational technique. I didn't feel like I was getting a full picture of the charac ...more
Rylee Arner
It showed the ways jewish men and woman lived as they were being murdered and discriminated in the time of Hitler's reign.
Sandra Strange
The subtitle will suck in readers: “Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust.” This book tells the stories of these Jewish teenagers, but the book is NOT all diaries. The book contains five accounts of the teen’s lives and deaths by Jacob Boas, with liberal quotes from their diaries. The accounts are touching and very sad. The last account is a summary of Ann Frank’s diary. The diary wishes to communicate that people remain hopeful and courageous to the end, despite the circumstances: ...more
Lindsay
Jun 30, 2008 Lindsay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those wanting more information about history
This book is not complicated in syntax but it is difficult to get through, mainly because of the subject matter. The book follows journals of Jewish teens as they face the gruesomeness of war. As the title tells you none of the teens survived. The journals they left are the only thing we have of them. Each teen grew up somewhere different and has a different perspective on Nazi invasion. The author has pieced together details about their life in various concentration camps to help you understand ...more
Jenn
Even though I think that some of the entries are more powerful than others, I didn't have the heart to take a star away from this book's rating. It felt unjust. They had enough taken away from them, and who am I - a modern, "gentile," by all comparisons pampered person - to give quality judgements on how they related their experiences. Watch out for Éva's entry. It will take your breath away.
Jennifer
It is a little hard to read...the diaries were obviously not written in english, so it is all translated and sometimes a little difficult to understand. It was good though, and it really showed me the difference between teens now and teens back then and in that particular culture. I learned a lot about the different ways teens stuggled through the Holocaust.
Edwina Hall Callan
Jewish teenagers David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, and Anne all kept diaries and were all killed in Hitler's death camps. These are their stories, in their own words. Author Jacob Boas is a Holocaust survivor who was born in the same camp to which Anne Frank was sent.
I donated this book to the C.A.N.D.L.E.S. Holocaust Museum for their library.
Kira
I would give this 3 1/2 maybe 4 stars. It was interesting to hear from these teenagers. And to see the differences and similarities in their stories. You only ever hear about Ann Frank growing up. This book does include part of her story, but you get to hear from 4 other teenagers and see things from thier point of views as well.
Carmen Marroquin
This book is a nice perspective of other teenagers during the Holocaust. However, the back and forth between the narrator and the excerpts from the diarists got in the way a little. Even after knowing that they all passed I couldn't help but hope that they made it out alive. It shows the maturity and innocence of the children depicted.
Theresa
I liked this nonfiction compilation of 5 teenagers who were killed during the Holocaust. The journals are amazing and I am glad they were preserved. It was a slow read, so I couldn't really rate it higher. I also think that there was something lost in translation. It did bring the realities of the Holocaust to life.
Addy
Two and a half stars.

I remember reading Anne Frank's diary as a young girl and I've read it a few times since then. This is a nice little book telling the somewhat similiar and yet different stories of four Jews who each kept diaries. It was a good short read and I liked the historical aspect.
Nicole
It is very important for the world to honestly hear about the struggles, triumphs and deaths of average, innocent teenagers in WWII. It was very interesting to see 5 different points of view in one book. And i liked the mix of boys and girls. Awesome!
michelle
Excellent concept and would have been a great book if I was a teenager, which is the intended audience. For someone who has a pretty in-depth knowledge of the Holocaust, it has less of an impact. Highly recommended as a teaching source.
Kathryn
I gave up about 1/2 way through. I lost interest in this book. It was a bit to dry, and not so much the actual diaries kept by the teens. documentary in nature. I would have preferred the actual diaries.
Sara
When I read the blurb of this book, I was sort of expecting something different than what I found in the book. Don't get me wrong, the book was great, it just wasn't exactly what I was looking for or expected.
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Jacob Boas has a Ph.D. in modern European history and is a historian, writer, and translator. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife.
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