Buried Words: The Diary of Molly Applebaum

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In the fall of 1942, roundups of Jews in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Poland, lead twelve-year-old Molly Applebaum and her cousin Helen to find refuge on a nearby farm, where their only hope for survival is to be hidden away underground — in a box. Confined “in a grave” from 1943 to early 1945, Molly has only her older cousin and her diary to keep her company. As one day passes into the next, Molly writes of the cold, dark space; the ever-present dirt and bugs; the unbearable suffering from insufficient food; and the difficult, complicated reliance on two Polish farmers who are risking their own lives to save her. A unique and poignant document, Molly’s diary is a stark confession of her fears and anxieties, her despair and her secrets and, above all, her fervent wish to stay alive. Buried Words presents Molly’s extraordinary diary, never before published in English, and also the memoir she wrote in the 1990s. Molly Applebaum’s courageous words, written fifty years apart, offer a fascinating reflection on both her wartime experiences and her postwar life.

Introduction by Jan Grabowski

At a Glance
Wartime diary paired with postwar memoir
Postwar Austria and Germany, displaced persons camps
War Orphans Project
Arrived in Canada in 1948
Adjusting to life in Canada
2022 Wolfe Chair Holocaust Studies Student Impact Prize

184 pages, including index

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Photo of Molly Applebaum

About the author

Molly Applebaum was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1930. After the war, she spent three years in displaced persons camps before immigrating to Canada as a war orphan. Buried Words is the first English translation of the diary Molly wrote in Polish from March 1942 to January 1945, accompanied by the memoir she wrote in the 1990s. Molly Applebaum lives in Toronto.

When I looked at the world with the eyes of a child it appeared so rose-coloured... and now? I am happy when I survive another day and I await the next in fear. When is it going to end? Are we even going to live until the end?