The Ghetto gives a shocking impression with its enormous amount of skinny and pale faces. Some of them seem to have been lying for a few weeks in graves. They are so repulsive that they cause us to shiver instinctively. Contrasting with the literary skeletons, among the general gloom and despair in all eyes, in the eyes of the enormous amount of gray people is a number of girls and young women who are dressed elegantly. New costumes, permed and dyed with oxygenated water hair, neatly organized, cheeks in bright lipstick and crimson red lips all hurt the eyes. I walk on the streets and observe this sick luxury and I’m ashamed in front of my myself. They look as if the silk costumes have been pulled onto the deadly shrouds.
Abraham Lewin, 21st May 1942, Warsaw.
A. Lewin, “A Diary of the Warsaw Ghetto”, Biuletyn ŻIH no 19–20 1956; diary from JHI collection; Translated from Yiddish by A. Rutkowski.