Tag Archives: letters

The Power of Letters

Fascinating and heart-wrenching story about the first letters written by Holocaust survivors after they were liberated from the camps. Researchers at Yad Vashem are compiling these letters, letters full of joy, shock, anger, sadness and, of course, survivors’ guilt. The following — written in Polish by an Auschwitz survivor —  is only a small part of the project, but so much is captured here:

How could I justify to you that I left the lions’ den intact, that I saw fiery furnaces, red flames in the skies? That I saw thousands of people led daily to the gas chambers, not knowing what awaited them in ten minutes; that I saw sheaves of sparks and tongues of fire, and sometimes even part of a roasted hand bursting forth from a gigantic chimney; that I stood naked daily at roll call for the Selektion, and the SS man, as if to anger me, sent me back to the camp and didn’t take me to the oven … and a huge prayer, a stubborn prayer for divine benevolence, for death.

Read the rest of the article here. 

I’m Still Here and I’m Callling all Yentes

As the song said.

I’m still here. Just been a combination of busy and dealing with a great upsurge of various emotions. My better half pointed out that we are coming up on the anniversary of my mother’s death, so I’m guessing that is a trigger. Will try to post more devotedly, but right now I direct your attention to My Uncle’s Letters from the War, a tumblr I started a while back (and which I have already linked to on this site). I have been so happy (though ’tis also rather bittersweet) to be in touch with people who either knew him or are the children of those who knew him and I’m hoping for more such feedback as I continue posting his letters.

Currently, I am calling all Yentes.

Pessimism

As previously mentioned here, I have started a tumblr of my uncle’s letters from World War II. I was thinking about the post I just put up, the beautiful quote from one of his letters, the absolute moral clarity and it occurred to me that in the current generation of my family there is someone who said, a few years back, that every day he woke up and hoped that more American soldiers had died in Iraq.

I hadn’t thought about those awful, stupid words in a while, thankfully. But today they came to me, in stark contrast to my uncle’s wonderful words.

My late brother, Alan, was appalled by the comment in question, as was I, but more to the point, he was shocked. I really wasn’t shocked, because I had a clearer view of the person who said it. (Alan had a certain naivete.) But it made me deeply depressed, nonetheless.

One lives in hope, as I always say, but one can contemplate “devolution” and become quite pessimistic…