The biggest dreams are almost always impossible; they almost never come true. But I had an exception. Sometimes, I would read a book, for example “Białe Róże” by Zakrzewska or something else. In such books, there were always girls, 13–17-year-old heroines. After reading such a book, I would think about it for a long time, that I could one day, serve the Fatherland like that. [...] yesterday, sitting in the yard, I found out they were looking for nurses. Without thinking for a long time, me and my friend Hanka Pollak went to see the commander and we signed up. But before we can become real nurses, we have to take a nursing course. How extremely happy I am! I’m happy not only because I’m going to serve the Fatherland, oh no! I’m also happy because I’ll be wearing white shoes, long gown, and on my arm, instead of the band with Zion, a band with a red cross. People on the streets will part with respect before me and I will be able to go to Cracow as often as I would like to, and a policeman will not be allowed to accost me. They also won’t be allowed to take me to work.
Renia Knoll, age 14, 25th June 1941, Cracow.
Knoll, “The Diary”, Warsaw 2012; diary from JHI’s collections.