Mary Berg

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Mary Berg
Miriam Wattenberg

1924 (1924)
DiedApril 2013
(aged 88–89)
NationalityPolish; half-American
Other namesMary Berg (pseudonym);
Mary Pentin
(name by marriage)
Known forWriting a diary during the Holocaust; being a Holocaust survivor
SpouseWilliam Pentin (husband)
  • Shaya Wattenberg (father)
  • Lena Wattenberg (née Zol) (mother)
RelativesAnna Wattenberg (sister)
Benno Zol
(maternal grandfather)

Miriam Wattenberg (1924 (1924) – April 2013), better known by her pseudonym Mary Berg, was a Polish-born, half-American, Jewish girl who kept a diary written mostly while Poland was German-occupied. during World War II. During the first months of World War II many Jews from Łódz (before their imprisonment in the Łódz Ghetto in April 1940), including Mary and her family escaped to Warsaw which was much safer for Jews at the time. But in the following months of their stay there, the situation of Jews got almost as bad, and by October 1940, they and other Jews from Warsaw were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto.

They stayed in the ghetto for almost two years. Because of their American connection, in July 1942, Miriam and her family left the Warsaw Ghetto on a transport to a prison in Kawiak where they would be detained. They stayed in the prison for a few months. Mary and her family tried to escape, but were unsuccessful. Because of this in January 1943, they left on a transport to the Vittel internment camp in France, in which people who tried to escape were imprisoned. The family departed the Vittel internment camp. On 1 March 1944, they boarded a train to Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. They arrived in their destination three days later on 4 March. By then, many inmates of Vittel, including Mary's roommate, had been deported to Auschwitz. In Lisbon, the Berg family boarded SS Grispholm for the voyage to the United States. It was there where she published her diary.

The diary is written between 10 October 1939 and 7 March 1944, in the Polish language. The diary was first published as a book in February 1945 by the publishing company L.B. Fischer, in the United States. The diary went out of print in the 1950's. The diary was first published as a book in Poland in 1986. The diary was republished in the United States in 2006, under the book title as The diary of Mary Berg: growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto, and again on 1 April 2009.

Period chronicled in Mary Berg's diary[change | change source]

On 10 October 1939, Mary Berg wrote the first entry in a new notebook of her diary. In the first entry of her diary she wrote that several years ago she did write a diary (which is lost), but stopped, but eventually decided to continue writing, several years later. The last entry in her diary is dated 7 March 1944, more than three years later after she wrote the first entry in her diary.

Related pages[change | change source]