Excerpted and adapted from "Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of theHolocaust," a collection of fifteen diaries edited by Alexandra Zapruder andpublished by Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.

Moshe Ze'ev Flinker was born in The Hague on October 9, 1926. Moshe's father, Noah Eliezer Flinker, was originally from Poland and had become a wealthy businessman in Holland. Apart from this rather scant information, details of the family history and background remain obscure.

After the German invasion and occupation of Holland in May 1940, the Flinkers remained in The Hague, subjected to an increasing series of restrictions against Jews. Moshe wrote in his diary of being expelled from public places, being forced to wear the yellow star, and hearing news of the concentration of Jews in Amsterdam. In July 1942, the Flinkers received a deportation notice, which prompted Moshe's father to take his family into hiding in Brussels. They journeyed illegally across the border and, thanks in part to Moshe's father's wealth, they were able to obtain false identity papers to allow them to pass as non-Jews. Like their Dutch counterparts, the Belgian Jews were living under intensely repressive measures and were being routinely deported to the East. But it worked to the Flinkers' advantage that they were unknown in Brussels and were not listed on any records testifying to their Jewish ancestry.

Moshe began his diary in November 1942. His early entries read less like those of a diary and more like a treatise on the subject of the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis and its meaning in a religious Jewish context. Faced as he was with the unprecedented persecution of the Jews of Europe in his own time, Moshe endeavored to reconcile his deeply held religious beliefs with the troubling reality that surrounded him. As Moshe voiced it in the diary, "What can God intend by all these calamities that are happening to us in this terrible period?"

Moshe ended his diary in September 1943. Though he was engulfed by desolation, he ended his diary affirming his faith in God, closing it with the words, "the end of my diary, thanks to the Lord." He and his family were caught in their apartment in Brussels eight months later, on the eve of the first night of Passover, apparently informed on by a well-known Belgian collaborator. The Flinkers were taken first to the Belgian transit camp Malines, and from there to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Moshe and his parents were sent immediately to the gas chambers, where they were murdered. His five sisters and brother survived Auschwitz and returned to their hiding place in Belgium after the war, where they recovered the surviving notebook of Moshe's diary.

November 26, 1942
[.] We are in a very bad situation. Our sufferings have by far exceeded our wrongdoings. What other purpose could the Lord have in allowing such things to befall us? I feel certain that further troubles will not bring any Jew back to the paths of righteousness; on the contrary, I think that upon experiencing such great anguish they will think that there is no God at all in the universe, because had there been a God He would not have let such things happen to His people. [.]

December 2, morning [1942]
The victor in this war that we are living through will not be either of the opposing sides, but God; not England and not America, but the Lord of Israel will triumph. I think that before this final victory, Germany will win on almost all fronts, and when it will seem that she has almost won, the Lord will approach with His sword and will conquer. Obviously my outlook is a religious one. I hope to be excused for this, for had I not religion, I would never find any answer at all to the problems that confront me. [.]

December 3, morning[1942]
[.] The Russian offensive on the eastern front continues, but I think nothing will come of it. No news from the other fronts. Today is the eve of Hanukkah but I have the feeling that this Hanukkah will pass, as have so many others, without a miracle or anything resembling one.

December 8, night[1942]
[.] During the past few days when my mother raised the question of my future, my reaction was again one of laughter, but when I was alone, I too began to ponder this matter. What indeed is to become of me? It is obvious that the present situation will not last forever--perhaps another year or two--but what will happen then? One day I will have to earn my own living. [...] After much deliberation, I've decided to become...a statesman. Not any sort of statesman, but a Jewish statesman in the Land of Israel. Even though it would take a miracle to free us now, the rest of my idea--living in our land--isn't so far-fetched. Then, perhaps the rest of the world might slightly change its attitude toward us. [.]

December 12, Saturday evening [1942]
Thursday was the last night of Hanukkah. My father, young brother, and I lit the candles that we had obtained, though not without difficulty. While I was singing the last stanza of the Hanukkah hymn Maoz Tzur [Rock of Ages] I was deeply struck by the topicality of the words:

Reveal Thy sacred mighty arm
And draw redemption near
Take Thy revenge upon that
Wicked people (!) that has shed the blood
Of those who worship Thee
Our deliverance has been long overdue,
Evil days are endless,
Banish the foe, destroy the shadow of his image
Provide us with a guiding light.