Holocaust Letters

This is just my opinion and there is no scientific research done on this, at least not as far as I am aware, but I think the Holocaust can be categorized as organized randomness.

On a large scale the industrialized murder of millions was organized efficiently, however on smaller scales the treatment of mainly Jews, by the Nazis, was often quite random. There are several examples where Jews were left alone, One of those is the Jewish division in the Finnish army, Finland was one of the Axis powers.

There was even a field synagogue for these soldiers, some German soldiers sometimes even visited the synagogue and showed respect for the Jews who prayed there, despite the propaganda they had been subjected to for years.

Erhard Milch, Wilhelm Keitel, Walther von Brauchitsch, Erich Raeder, and Maximilian von Weichs were all senior officers in the Wehrmacht, and they all were of Jewish descent.

On the other hand, there were random single killings. One only has to think of Amon Göth who used to randomly shoot Jews from his balcony.

The ones in this post are also random. Just random thoughts of fear, hope, anxiety, and determination. The letter at the top of the post was a telegram from Erna and Arnold Korn from Berlin to their son Walter and his wife Chava (Chawa) on Kibbutz Matzuva, a month before the former were sent to their deaths in Auschwitz. Arnold and Erna would send Walter-who had moved in March 1939, to Eretz Israel—a letter every week. Afterward, from time to time a telegram would reach him via the Red Cross. The last sign of life from Arnold and Erna was sent in February 1943.

21 December 1942

Sender:
Korn Eliyahu
Matzuba Group
Post Office, Nahariya

We both, all the relatives, [and] Gerda, are healthy. Expecting baby at the end of January. Hope Reni, Paula and Oskar are well. Work is good. We were happy to get your letter.

Kisses, Chava [and] Eliyahu

Side 2

Sincere thanks for your words. Hope you are happy parents. We are both fine. No news of our dearest ones. Gerda is happy that you are well. Kisses.

Mother, Father

11 February 1943

Yuri Lyubarski, a Jewish officer in the Red Army, wrote these words to his wife Rosa in Shymkent-Chimkent, Tashkent from the front in the Kharkov region.

16 May 1942
Dear Rosichka and Larichka,

Yesterday, Grisha sent you 500 rubles in a registered letter and forgot to enclose my letter, which I’m sending now. In a few days I will be getting money, and I’ll send you some. Then you’ll be able to buy yourself and Larichka everything you want. I contacted the Ministry of Finance requesting that they send the certificate to the Shymkent-Chimkent office of the Soldiers’ Association. You need to go there and check if it arrived, and to nag them. Maybe you should ask them to contact the office in Moscow. That may help you get the certificate quicker. They have your old address in Moscow. In any event, even if the document arrives late, you will receive money from May onwards. All in all, it would be better to get it on time.

There’s nothing new on my end. Please answer all the questions I asked you in previous letters down to the minutest details. Don’t think that long letters tire me out. Write as much as you can, and in as much detail as you can. I will read the good news with great pleasure. I await the arrival of a photo of you and Larichka and will try and send you writing paper. No stamps necessary.

I will end here. It’s already 1:00 in the morning and I’m going to sleep.
Stay alive and in good health.
Regards to Father, Mother, Masha, and the Eibinders.
Kisses to you and Larichka.
Your Yuri

Letter from Siegfried Bodenheimer
Siegfried Bodenheimer wrote these words in his last letter to his son Ernst in the children’s home in Montintin, three months before Ernst’s Bar Mitzvah.

Siegfried Bodenheimer
Les Milles camp, 18.5.42
Group 13

To
Ernst Bodenheimer
Chateau Montintin

My beloved Ernst,
Yesterday I received your letter of 10.5 and was glad to hear that you are well. We are always very interested to hear how your Achilles tendon is faring. What I hear from you alleviates my anxiety and I see that as far as you are concerned, all is well. Let’s hope it stays that way. What do you hear from your beloved Ilse and Mother? You will always receive mail from La Chatre.
Dear Ernst, although we [the family] are spread out, we have to thank God for one thing: that as of now, all of us are more or less healthy. Do you feel the same way, dear Ernst? We are now approaching Shavuot. What this means for us – I don’t need to tell you. The giving of the statutes [Torah] was a one-time event, but they will be in force for as long as the world exists. The commandments are so sacred and immutable that we must aspire to observe them under any circumstances. From this year forward, my dear son, you will have to observe them, and therefore, please act accordingly. But despite everything, always remain happy and good-hearted. Come what may, the war will still go on for a long time. The most important thing is that you learn something that will be useful.
Here, nothing significant has taken place. In the last week, many people have been forced to leave and go out to work. A few friends left for the US, and on Shabbat, a few received evacuation notices [transports to Auschwitz] for mid-June.
Have I already written to you that we have two beautiful dogs, called Pateraf and Conchet?
I see that you can already correct my mistakes! Yes, I spelled the word Mattre wrong. The French doesn’t penetrate my old head. For example: today – Monday – I had an English lesson, and in the morning, a French lesson.
Dear Ernst, observe the festival well and regards and kisses from your father.
Heartfelt regards to all the children we know, especially Av Maksel.
Can you read my handwriting?

Like so many other Jews from Berlin, Ilse Chotzen was deported to Riga, Latvia, with her husband Erich in January 1942. Erich died two months after their arrival in Riga, which made Ilse’s life even more difficult. She then befriended a German soldier, Adolf—whose last name she never revealed—who agreed to send letters to Ilse’s in-laws under his name using the German military’s postal service. This was an extremely bold move since soldiers’ mail was inspected by the authorities. The nature of Ilse’s relationship between Ilse and Adolf is unknown. It is also unknown what happened to Adolf and whether he survived the war.

Ilse’s father-in-law in Berlin had died shortly after she and Erich were deported to Riga, but she had no way of knowing since she did not receive letters from Berlin there. So Ilse continued to write letters addressed to both Erich’s parents, describing life in Riga and asking about their health and circumstances in Berlin.

Dated July 23, 1942, the featured letter shows the deep pain experienced by its author. It also underscores the tragic disintegration of family ties—a common experience for many Jewish families during the Holocaust.2

llse Chotzen’s exact fate is unknown, but she did not survive the war. She was only twenty or twenty-one years old at the time of her death.

23./7 [July 23, 1942]

This is the sixth time that I’ve written you, and I still haven’t received any answer. What’s going on with you? By now, of course, you know everything that I’ve been through but just think: now I’m together with A. every day.1 He’s a great guy, and I’m very happy that I have him here. Enclosed, we’re sending along a permit stamp for military postal parcels. 1 kg. Please send A. soap, he needs it badly, and I urgently need stockings and a nightgown. You need to get the parcel ready right away, please, so that the stamp doesn’t expire. I can’t describe to you how I’m doing because I never suspected that one can survive with such profound pain. The longing for all of you, my dear ones, tortures me to no end, and to this day I still can’t conceive of living without my beloved Erich. I simply don’t comprehend it, and I always think (I sit in the dark at the window for half the night) that I just have to find him or something of him in nature, but…! Are you well? Dearest Mama and Papa, you’ve never been so close to me as you are now in my immeasurable grief. I think about you so much! […] I want you all to write us, please, especially you, dearest Mama, and my dear Papa. Adolf would like to hear all your news, too. We talk a great deal about home. He’s interested in everything. […] Do send me pictures of Erich and yourselves, please. Dearest Papa, I hope your leg is alright again, I’m so worried about you and above all about Mama. I think about you so much, Papa, because Erich had such a close resemblance to you. When A. goes on leave in September, he’ll come to see you. He’ll be traveling through Berlin anyway. He’ll certainly have some stories for you! […]

The Last Letter From Aron Liwerant
Aron Liwerant wrote these words on a deportation train in France to his daughter, Berthe. Aron was murdered in Majdanek. Berthe survived.

March 3, 1943

Dear Berthe,
It is already day four. I am now in the railroad car. We are surely traveling to Germany. I am also certain we are going to work. We are about 700 people, 23 railroad cars. In each car, there are two gendarmes. This is a commercial railroad car, but it is neat with benches and a heater. Of course, German railroad cars. Of course, without compartments. They put a pail in it. Imagine the impression this makes. Not everyone can use it. You have to be strong in every situation.
I hope, my child, that you receive all my letters. If you can, keep them for a memento. Dear Berthe, I enclose two lottery tickets. I don’t have a newspaper. I believe I will be able to write a letter to Aunt Paula. I hope, my child, that you will know how to behave as a free person, even though you are without your parents for now. Don’t forget that you must survive, and don’t forget to be a Jew and also a human being. Sharae this with Simon. Remain free people and observe everything with open eyes. Don’t be influenced by first impressions. Know that you cannot open up a person to look inside, at his concealed thoughts, if he has a serious face, or even if he laughs and is pleasant. I don’t mean one specific thing only, but everything that lives around you and everything you see. Both false thoughts and honest thoughts are often blurred, and you should watch how a person behaves in your presence. You don’t see the falsehoods or the honesty of a person in one day. You understand that my advice is for your benefit. Always remember these ideas. My dear child, I think this letter will be my last because we are nearing Paris. If I can – I will write again. My dear Bertshi, take care of your health and don’t drink cold drinks when you sweat so I will be able to see my healthy children once again. Tell Simon everything I have written you. Tell him to study and be a good student, because he is gifted. I am finishing my letter. Many kisses. I am going with the confidence that you will grow up and be a good, healthy, and smart girl.

Your Father, hoping to see you soon

This letter was thrown from a deportation train somewhere in Poland in December 1942.

Płońsk 16.XII.42

It is morning. We are inside a railcar with the whole family. We left with the last departure. Płońsk has been cleared.

Please go to the [home] of the Bamóws on 6 Niska Street and give them our regards

This is from the side of those who were responsible for the Holocaust, The business-like language is probably more chilling them the words written by the victims. In a February 26, 1942 letter to Martin Luther, Reinhard Heydrich follows up on the Wannsee Conference by asking Luther for administrative assistance in the implementation of the “Endlösung der Judenfrage” (Final Solution of the Jewish Question).

15 November.1941
Reichskommissar for Ostland
IIa 4
Secret
To: Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories
RE: Execution of Jews

…Will you please inform me whether your inquiry of 31 October should be interpreted as a directive to liquidate all the Jews in Ostland? Is this to be done regardless of age, sex, and economic requirements (for instance, the Wehrmacht’s demand for skilled workers in the armament industry)? Of course, the cleansing of Ostland of Jews is a most important task; its solution, however, must be in accord with the requirements of war production…
Loshe
Reichskommissar for Ostland

Letter: The Jewish Question

18 December.1941
Berlin
Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories
To: Reichskommissar for Ostland
RE: Jewish question

The Jewish question has presumably been clarified by employing verbal discussion. In principle, economic considerations are not to be taken into account in the settlement of the problem. It is further requested that any questions that arise be settled directly with the Higher SS and Police Leader.
Braeutigam


December.1941
Reichskommissar for Ostland
To: Higher SS and Police Leader

…I request most emphatically that the liquidation of Jews employed as skilled workers in armament plants and repair workshops of the Wehrmacht who cannot be replaced at present by local personnel be prevented…

…Provision is to be made as quickly as possible for the training of suitable local personnel as skilled workers…
Loshe
Reichskommissar for Ostland


16 December 1941
Minsk
Generalkommissar for Byelorussia
To: Reichskommissar for Ostland

I wish to ask you personally for an official directive for the conduct of the civilian administration towards the Jews deported from Germany to Byelorussia. Among these Jews are men who fought at the Front and have the Iron Cross, First and Second Class, war invalids, half-Aryans, even three-quarter Aryans…

…These Jews will probably freeze or starve to death in the coming weeks…On my responsibility I will not give the SD any instructions with regard to the treatment of these people…

I am certainly a hard [man] and willing to help solve the Jewish question, but people who come from our cultural sphere just are not the same as the brutish hordes in this place. Is the slaughter to be carried out by the Lithuanians and Letts, who are themselves rejected by the population here? I couldn’t do it. I beg you to give clear directives [in this matter,] with due consideration for the good name of our Reich and our Party, in order that the necessary action can be taken in the most humane manner.
Heil Hitler!
Wilhelm Kube

What comes across quite clearly in these letters also, is the fact that it wasn’t only the Germans involved, The French gendarmerie, Lithuanians, and Latvians (referred to as Letts) are mentioned as perpetrators.

sources

https://perspectives.ushmm.org/collection/wartime-correspondence

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/last-letters/1941/index.asp

https://www.dw.com/en/last-letters-from-the-holocaust-remembering-the-victims/a-42325106

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Anne Frank-Just an ordinary girl.

anne frank

On August 4,1944 a tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to the now so well known secret annex in Amsterdam. Anne Frank, her family and all the other occupants would be arrested.

Via her diary Anne Frank became one of the  symbols  of the Holocaust. I often read people describing her diary and her letters as ‘works’ as if they were professional pieces of literature. But they weren’t ,they were words of a young girl coming of age, in the most anxious of circumstances. That is what makes it so special and powerful.

She was just an ordinary girl, as some of the below excerpts written by her illustrate.

“I have pretty long hair … Papa and Mama want me to get it cut but I’d much rather let it grow”  “I have a little appliance in my mouth, and braces … Now I have to go to the dentist every week, and it comes out the next day. This has been going on for eight weeks, and I find it very unpleasant, of course.”— Taken from a letter to her Grandmother. Spring 1941.

“From Papa and Mama a bicycle, a new school bag, a beach dress and various other things. Margot gave me this stationery, because I had run out, and I didn’t do too badly on candies and other little presents either. It’s very warm here, is it warm there too?” From a letter to her Grandmother written in June 1941, shortly after her birthday.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into wilderness. I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again”. from her diary July 15, 1944.

” Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be ill, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up any more, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if … if only there were no other people in the world.” Her last diary entry August 1, 1944.

poem

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Sources

CNN

Washington Post

Smithsonian

Learntoquestion.com

Yahoo News

Scrappy invaluable bits of paper.

letter

This week the painting with the name “Haystacks” by Claude Monet was sold for $110 Million.But that value pales compared to the value of the scrappy bits of paper which contained the last words of those who were killed in the Holocaust.

Those bits of paper are invaluable and no amount of money on earth, could ever reflect their value.

The letter at the start of the blog was written by Martijn Konijn on January 11,1943 It was mots probably smuggled out of Westerbork, It is not clear to who it was addressed to but it must have been either a Brother or Sister in Law. The letter is in Dutch but below is the translation.

“Westerbork 11/1 ‘43

I write you because than I am sure it will arrive.

Today on transport to the east I salute you all family and friends.

I hope you won’t forget me en hope to see all of you again.

Don’t send anything to Westerbork because I won’t be there.

Show all people who know me, this card. It is a pity but cannot do anything about it.

Bye. Your brother in law Martijn.

MARTIJN KONIJN Westerbork B66.

The latter below was the last sign of life of Leendert Arbeid. he died in 26 February 1943.

Leendert

It can’t make out the address at the to of the letter but it was written on February 23,1942. This letter is also in Dutch .

letter 2

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today we went on transport.Think as long as possible about Jeff and Stella who are in Vught(another camp).Warn the family, also Abram and Gina, Hoping to see each other again some day. Leendert en Jet.

Many kisses and greetings to everyone also (can’t make out the first name) Bandy and Sophie.

Leendert had been married to Henriette Achtsteribbe(I believe he calls her Jet in the letter). They got married on March 24,1920. They both died on February 26, 1943 in Auschwitz.

akte

The story of Louis van Leeuwen is probably the saddest of the three. His famly don’t even know the exact date or place where he died.

louis van leeuwen

The Dutch Red Cross declared on the 27th of  November 1951 that Louis died   not earlier than 15-01-1945 and latest 02-02-1945, somewhere in the Middle of Europe,either Auschwitz or Gross Rosen.

declaratie

Below is the last letter Louis wrote, he addressed it to his wife but I could not trace the name of his wife, the letter is in Dutch with the English translation below.

Louis

 

“Dearest wife

In relation to my health, I am well, Via this way I want to let you know that Riba and many other seamstresses have received a letter to come to the “Centralstelle” with proof of identification to receive a stamp.Inform yourself once more how it is with(after that there is a line I couldn’t read because it was in a crease of the paper)

I got dressed again but I will stay at home, therefore my value won’t decrease because I remain at home the whole day.

Strength in your knees and much power/

Your loving husband and reliance.

Louis van Leeuwen”

Louis’s sister was Roza van Leeuwen. She married Salomon Arbeid in July 1948. Salomon was the son of Leendert and Henriette Arbeid.

Bruidspaar

Although those last few words of those three men were written on scrappy bits of pieces. Those bits of papers have become invaluable for their loved ones who survived.

 

 

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Sources

Holocaust History Archive

Joods Monument.

 

The brave words from a Mother to her Daughter.

olga

This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. Heartbreaking because it is a story about a mother who knew she was going to die. Uplifting because her last words were so positive and courageous, despite the fate that awaited her.

Olga Bancic was born on May 10, 1912 to a large Jewish family living in the Bessarabia province when it was still part of the Russian Empire.

In 1936, she traveled to France, where she supported communist activists in transporting weapons to Spanish Republican forces fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Shortly before the outbreak of WWII she gave birth to her Daughter Dolores, the child’s father was Alexandru Jar. After the outbreak of the war Olga left Dolores in care with a French family. Olga joined a resistance group.

She was arrested on November 6, 1943 by the Gestapo, during the interrogation she was tortured.Despite the torture she refused  give information about her comrades.

On February 22,1944 Olga and 22 others were sentenced to death. All male defendants were executed later that day at Fort Mont-Valérien. Olga had been the only female defendant and due to a loophole in the French law which prevented women from being executed on French soil, Olga was deported to Stuttgart. She was executed in Stuttgart on May 10,1944 , her 32nd birthday. She was decapitated with an axe in the local prison’s courtyard.

One of her last deeds was throwing a letter out of a window during her transportation to her place of execution. The letter had a note attached to it saying.:

“Dear Madame: I ask you to please give this letter to my little girl Dolores Jacob after the war. This is the last wish of a mother who will only live twelve more hours.”

Miraculously the letter did reach Dolores, who had been given the name Dolores Jacob, the letter said the following:

“My dear little daughter, my darling little love

Your mother is writing the last letter, my dear little daughter; tomorrow at 6:00, on May 10, I will be no more.

Don’t cry, my love; your mother doesn’t cry any more either. I die with a peaceful conscience and with the firm conviction that tomorrow you will have a happier life and future than your mother’s. You will no longer have to suffer. Be proud of your mother, my little love. I always have your image before me.

I’m going to believe that you will see your father, and I have hope that he’ll meet a fate different from mine. Tell him that I always thought of him, as I always thought of you. I love you both with all my heart. Both of you are dear to me. My darling child, your father is, for you, also a mother. He loves you a lot. You won’t feel the loss of your mother. My darling child, I finish this letter with the hope that you will be happy all your life, with your father, with everyone.

I kiss you with all my heart, a lot a lot.

Farewell my love.

Your Mother”

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Holocaust in words

drawing

It is said that a picture paints a thousand words , and it does, but that also means that sometimes a picture is just to horrible to look at it, for just a glimpse can evoke a thousand emotions. There are so many images of the Holocaust which are just to gruesome to view, However sometimes just the words of victims can have a deeper emotional impact that lasts.

Below are just some examples of last words send to family members, either on postcard or letter. I don’t know the dates but that doesn’t matter for the words are just so powerful.

A message from Margot Triest’s mother.

“Little treasure, I’m sure you have found girlfriends already. Always take care of yourself, little one, always be well and have fun … Always be brave, little girl, and with God’s help, we will see one another again.”

Margot did not see her mother again, The words were written on a postcard, and Margot;s Mother had thrown the postcard out of the train, bur miraculously it was found and given to Margot.

A message from Ernst Bornstein’s parents(excerpts from letters send to Ernst)

“As time passed by we received more terrible news about the “Aussiedlung” (the resettlement of the Jewish population) .

“We are standing in front of our wagons because our town is now Judenrein. Like other transports before us, we are probably going to the extermination at Auschwitz. Stay strong and make sure that you stay alive. And do not forget all this.”

A message from Fanya Barbakow(Excerpt from her last letter)

“My dear ones!! I am writing this letter before my death, but I don’t know the exact day that I and all my relatives will be killed, just because we are Jews. All of our Jewish brothers and sisters were murdered and died a shameful death at the hands of the murderers… I don’t know who will remain alive from our family, and who will have the honor of reading my letter and my proud greeting before death to all my beloved and dear ones tortured at the hands of the murderers.”

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Source

Yad Vashem

 

Gandhi’s letters to Hitler

gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi, frequently known by the honorific Mahatma (meaning “great soul”), was famous for advocating civil disobedience and nonviolence to achieve his goals.

Starting in 1921, Gandhi led the Indian independence movement through such methods, finally achieving freedom from the British empire in 1947, just six months before his death.

Less known is Gandhi’s efforts through a series of letters in 1939 and 1940 to keep German dictator Adolf Hitler from starting a war in Europe.

 

ghandi-letter

The British saw to it that the 1939 letter was never delivered. It seems they did not realise its propaganda value, considering how much Gandhi is revered today. But it did show that the Indian leader was a shrewd reader of international affairs – even a month before the Nazi-Soviet Pact made World War II inevitable, Gandhi had fully realised that the only way to avert war was for the German leader to adopt peaceful means to achieve his goals.

The second letter he send on Christmas eve 1940, it is not known if Hitler ever received it. Below is the full text of that letter.

 

“Dear friend,

That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

I hope you will have the time and desire to know how a good portion of humanity who have view living under the influence of that doctrine of universal friendship view your action. We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents. But your own writings and pronouncements and those of your friends and admirers leave no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity, especially in the estimation of men like me who believe in universal friendliness. Such are your humiliation of Czechoslovakia, the rape of Poland and the swallowing of Denmark. I am aware that your view of life regards such spoliations as virtuous acts. But we have been taught from childhood to regard them as acts degrading humanity. Hence we cannot possibly wish success to your arms.

But ours is a unique position. We resist British Imperialism no less than Nazism. If there is a difference, it is in degree. One-fifth of the human race has been brought under the British heel by means that will not bear scrutiny. Our resistance to it does not mean harm to the British people. We seek to convert them, not to defeat them on the battle-field. Ours is an unarmed revolt against the British rule. But whether we convert them or not, we are determined to make their rule impossible by non-violent non-co-operation. It is a method in its nature indefensible. It is based on the knowledge that no spoliator can compass his end without a certain degree of co-operation, willing or compulsory, of the victim. Our rulers may have our land and bodies but not our souls. They can have the former only by complete destruction of every Indian—man, woman and child. That all may not rise to that degree of heroism and that a fair amount of frightfulness can bend the back of revolt is true but the argument would be beside the point. For, if a fair number of men and women be found in India who would be prepared without any ill will against the spoliators to lay down their lives rather than bend the knee to them, they would have shown the way to freedom from the tyranny of violence. I ask you to believe me when I say that you will find an unexpected number of such men and women in India. They have been having that training for the past 20 years.

We have been trying for the past half a century to throw off the British rule. The movement of independence has been never so strong as now. The most powerful political organization, I mean the Indian National Congress, is trying to achieve this end. We have attained a very fair measure of success through non-violent effort. We were groping for the right means to combat the most organized violence in the world which the British power represents. You have challenged it. It remains to be seen which is the better organized, the German or the British. We know what the British heel means for us and the non-European races of the world. But we would never wish to end the British rule with German aid. We have found in non-violence a force which, if organized, can without doubt match itself against a combination of all the most violent forces in the world. In non-violent technique, as I have said, there is no such thing as defeat. It is all ‘do or die’ without killing or hurting. It can be used practically without money and obviously without the aid of science of destruction which you have brought to such perfection. It is a marvel to me that you do not see that it is nobody’s monopoly. If not the British, some other power will certainly improve upon your method and beat you with your own weapon. You are leaving no legacy to your people of which they would feel proud. They cannot take pride in a recital of cruel deed, however skilfully planned. I, therefore, appeal to you in the name of humanity to stop the war. You will lose nothing by referring all the matters of dispute between you and Great Britain to an international tribunal of your joint choice. If you attain success in the war, it will not prove that you were in the right. It will only prove that your power of destruction was greater. Whereas an award by an impartial tribunal will show as far as it is humanly possible which party was in the right.

You know that not long ago I made an appeal to every Briton to accept my method of non-violent resistance. I did it because the British know me as a friend though a rebel. I am a stranger to you and your people. I have not the courage to make you the appeal I made to every Briton. Not that it would not apply to you with the same force as to the British. But my present proposal is much simple because much more practical and familiar.

During this season when the hearts of the peoples of Europe yearn for peace, we have suspended even our own peaceful struggle. Is it too much to ask you to make an effort for peace during a time which may mean nothing to you personally but which must mean much to the millions of Europeans whose dumb cry for peace I hear, for my ears are attended to hearing the dumb millions? I had intended to address a joint appeal to you and Signor Mussolini, whom I had the privilege of meeting when I was in Rome during my visit to England as a delegate to the Round Table Conference. I hope that he will take this as addressed to him also with the necessary changes.”

gandhihitler

 

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Two last letters

 

04These 2 letter are truly heartbreaking. The 1st one because it was written by a young boy showing appreciation for a gift, not knowing what fate waited for him after his mother had sent his letter. This one actually tore my heart to pieces.

The 2nd one from a young man who knew exactly what was waiting for him and yet he was able to comfort his family. A real Hero

Zalman Levinson was a nine-year-old boy who lived with his mother, Frieda, and his father, Zelik, in Riga, Latvia. They stayed in regular communication with Frieda’s sister, Agnes, in Israel, who would send gifts to Zalman.

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Frieda sent Agnes a postcard from Riga in April 1941. After that, the letters suddenly stopped. it is known  now that the family’s names were included on a list of inmates at the Riga ghetto, where about 30,000 Jews were held captive.

In late 1941, Germans declared that they would be moving the ghetto’s inhabitants and settling them “further east.” Between November 30 and December 9, at least 26,000 of these Jews were killed southeast of Riga along the Riga-Dvinsk railway. It is likely that this is where the Levinsons, including Zalman, were killed.

The last letter that Frieda received from her nephew was a colorful drawing of his house and a brief letter he had written himself. The letter to his aunt was signed with his name and a brief, “Thank you for the present.”

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Wolfgang Kusserow and his entire family were under close watch from the Nazi secret police because of their religious activities. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, he believed that God—and not Hitler—was deserving of his loyalty.2-wolfgang-kusserow-family

 

Even after his father and mother were arrested for this, Kusserow continued to hold illegal Bible study meetings in his home. Like Gerhard Steinacher, Kusserow refused to join the German military effort and was arrested in December 1941. He, too, was tried and sentenced to death.

My dear Parents, and my dear brothers and sisters!

One more time I am given the opportunity to write you. Well, now I your third son and brother, shall leave you tomorrow early in the morning. Be not sad, the time will come when we shall all be together again. Those who will sow with tears, will reap with joy. “Those sowing seed with tears will reap even with a joyful cry.”

 

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How great the joy will be, when we see all of us again, although it is not easy now to overcome all this, but through belief and hope in the King and His Kingdom we conquer the worst. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).

So we confidently look forward to the future.

Dear Papa, I am sorry that I was not allowed to visit you early in December. Exactly one year ago from tomorrow I saw you and Hildegard for the last time. In the meantime I have visited Lenchen. It was a special joy for me to see Mummy once again. Well, dear Mummy, Annemarie read me your dear letter during her visit… It is fine that you are busy in the baking factory (prison), so you are at least in a warm room and you have something to eat. Lenchen is now in the concentration camp.

Thus we are all separated, but everybody is steady. Yes we shall be rewarded for all of this. Read this in James 1:12: “Happy is the man who keeps on enduring trials, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving Him.”

“Dear Annemarie, once more special thanks to you for all your endeavors. May this our Lord reward you. I have you all constantly in mind. That was a life, when we were all at home together! – And suddenly separated!

Well Satan knows that his time is short. Therefore, he tries with all his power to lead astray from God men of good will, but he will have no success. We know that our faith will be victorious.

In this faith and this conviction I leave you.

A last greeting from this old world in the hope of seeing you again soon in a New World.

Your son and brother (signed) Wolfgang”

Wolfgang was killed on March 28, 1942. He was 20 years old

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Saw a bird of paradise today

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Contrary to the title and the picture above, this is not going to be a piece on ornithology.

“Saw a bird of paradise today.”were some of the words that,Stanley McTacket wrote as he  prepared to go into battle on the Kokoda Track on August 19, 1942, Stanley McTackett took a moment to write a letter to his mother.

“Mum, we all write these letters and leave them at the base to be posted in case we are killed.When you receive this letter, please don’t grieve too much as we will know that I died trying to help save Australia.I am sorry I will not be able to help you in your old age and repay you for all the trouble I was”

Few of the young men, if any, were expected to survive the enemy’s onslaught.But Mr McTackett made it through one of the toughest battles of World War II, and his letter was never sent.

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Not everyone was as fortunate as Mr McTackett, he passed away in 2011 aged 92.But his words are still poignant and reflect the mindset and emotions of those brave men who were willing to sacrifice their lives.

Below are some farewell messages and death notices of those who were less fortunate then Mr McTackett.The letters are from both sides of the divide.

Captain Kuno Last Letter to his Children

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Dear Masanori and Kiyoko,

Even though you cannot see me, I will always be watching you. Obey your mother, and do not trouble her. When you grow up, follow a path you like and grow to be fine Japanese persons. Do not envy the father of others, since I will become a spirit and closely watch over you two. Both of you, study hard and help out your mother with work. I cannot be your horse to ride, but you two be good friends. I am an energetic person who flew a large bomber and finished off all the enemy. Please be persons who rise above me and so avenge my death.
From Father

This letter was written by a Lt. who was with the 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Group

 

My Dearest One,

Nothing much new and also it is quite late so as usual a short shorty to say hello and to let you know how much I love you.
At present I am listening to Bob Hope guess I forgot to tell you that we now have a radio. It is an Italian job, we bought it from Bohlan. He is going home so we took it off his hands. Spent a very busy day. Can’t remember doing a thing but I guess I did manage to stay on my feet.
Say I believe that a tan is developing, not sure as yet but the red seems to be changing color. At present I am quite a two tone job, imagine I will remain that way too because I don’t dare chance getting my rear sunburned (spend too much time on that thing) Hope you don’t get frightened when you see this two toned job advancing toward you in your boudoirs. Certainly hope that time isn’t far off.
Well sweetheart I must say goodnight for now and a million kisses. Write often sweet I love so much to get your letters and I haven’t had any for three days. I love you darling with all my heart, body and soul.

Always your husband,

HG Johns – War Department Letter of Death Notification – 17 July 1945

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The Acton Family

The letter was sent from the Minister of War Transport to Mrs Evelyn Acton of Whitehaven, Cumbria. It told Evelyn one of her sons was ‘supposed drowned’. Another son, William Acton, was also lost on the same vessel.

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Berkely Square House, W1
19th May 1943,

Dear Madam,

It is with the deepest regret that I have learned that your son, Mr George Acton, who was serving in the Merchant Navy as A.B. has been recorded as supposed drowned whilst on service with his ship.

By command of His Majesty the King the names of those members of the Merchant Navy who have given their lives in the service of their country are recorded in the Merchant Navy Roll of Honour. I am now adding Mr. Acton’s name to the Roll of Honour, and, as I do so, wish to express my admiration for the services he rendered and to convey to you and your family my profound sympathy in your sad bereavement.

Your son worthily upheld the noble traditions of the Merchant Navy and I may perhaps hope that the realisation of this fact may help to soften the heavy blow which has fallen upon you.

Believe me,
Yours sincerely,
‘Leathers’
Minister of War Transport

Mrs. Eveline Acton,
93, George Street,
Whitehaven.

Frank M. Elliott

June 5, 1944

Darling,

. . . This is a beautiful summer evening, darling. I am sitting at the kitchen table (and not even noticing the noise of the refrigerator) from which place by merely lifting my head and looking out the window I can gaze upon a truly silvery, full moon. It’s beautiful, dear — really beautiful, and it has succeeded in making me very sentimental. I had begun to think that I was becoming immune to the moon’s enchantment — so often I have looked at it without you and to keep myself from going mad told myself “It’s pretty, yes — but, so what?”. . . That’s not the way it really is though, darling — the sight of that shining moon up there — the moon that shines on you, too — fills me with romance — ; and even though it’s just a dream now, it’s a promise of a glorious future with one I love more than life. The darned old moon keeps shining for us, darling — and even as it now increases that inescapable loneliness, it also increases my confidence in the future. I truly love you . . .

 

Frank was killed the day after on D-Day

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