Examining the diary as a particular form of expression, Holding On and Holding Out provides unique insight into the experiences of Jews in France during the Second World War. Unlike memoirs and autobiographies that reconstruct particular life stories or events, diaries record daily events without the benefit of retrospect, describing events as they unfold. Holding On and Holding Out assesses how individuals used diaries to record their daily life under persecution, each waiting for some end with a mix of hope and despair. Some used the diary to bear witness not only to the terror of their own lives, but also to the lives and suffering of others. Others used their writing as a memorial to people who were killed. All used their writing to assert:'I live, I will have lived.'Holding On and Holding Out follows the diaries of two specific individuals, Raymond-Raoul Lambert and Benjamin Schatzman, from their first entry to the last one they wrote before they disappeared into the Nazi extermination camps. The author concludes the book by considering how reflections on their experience are informed by the times in which they lived, before the advent of persecution.