Gleiwitz, 14 May 1942
My dear ones,
Today we got the order to present ourselves at the police station on Sunday. I’m certain that our deportation is inevitable. Therefore I am sending you the enclosed. It is better that you should have it than it end up with strangers. If you don’t receive any more news from me, don’t answer, in case your reply falls into the wrong hands.
Please send on my last greetings to my son, because it is ninety-nine percent certain that we won’t see him again.
This letter must not be found in your possession.
Good health, my dear. May God be with you. He seems to have forgotten us.
Lots of love and greetings
From your Else
22nd May 1942
My dear ones,
A thousand thanks for the telegram and the lovely letter with the words of comfort. I trust you with all my heart but I am frightened to death. In case there is danger in informing you of Werner’s address. What you do not know is what is about to happen here. I begged you not to pass Werner’s address on but you must have misunderstood, although I thought I made it clear. There is a risk that I might be betrayed. I know what is happening, but you will not be aware of it, that is, you don’t know how they are mistreating us.
In case it is found by others, please don’t write to this address. I am going mad thinking there is danger in everything. I wish I hadn’t written anything down at all. The fact that mother and I are still here is a miracle. I am really worried that you may have sent additional information to England. I wouldn’t have given you his address if I had realised that there would be misunderstanding. I should have warned you about the dangers.
… On the 27th or 28th there is another transport departing and I expect we will be on that. I am just taking one rucksack, as my mother cannot carry one. It will contain clothes for summer and winter, no bedding , and necessities for two people. It must weigh no more than 20 kilos, but I wouldn’t be able to carry more anyway. If you pack more than you can carry you have to leave it behind and set off without anything. We can take enough bread for 2 days, sliced, and a flask of cold coffee.
They are talking about taking us to Poland but a Russian destination is also a possibility. They have even deported an 89-year old woman. Everyone has to go to the police station into the Air Raid Shelter.
What kind of reply is this to your kind letter. I will post this now, so that you understand about the mail to England. Thank you for your kindness and trust.
My very last greetings and kisses,
Gleiwitz, 25th May 1942
My Dear Friends,
You will have received my letter by now, in which I begged you not to do anything. I hope you are not cross with me because I wrote in such an agitated manner, but I was so frightened.
As long as the war lasts, there is nothing I can do. We cannot, of course, go into the occupied zone: my mother and I are just one example. We are perishing. It is just one more wartime sacrifice, isn’t it. Unfortunately, I will have to decline the chances: on Wednesday at the latest we will certainly be off, it may even be before then.
Therefore, please do not reply to this in case your letters fall into the wrong hands. And I thank you a thousand times for your kind words of comfort. I know how heartfelt they were and how much you care, and every time I re-read your golden words, remember regretfully how we used to spend lovely spring holidays with you.
I am afraid we will certainly not meet again; in Poland, my dears, we will be completely isolated. And if we object they will use force. What do they know, with their pretension of culture? Above all, it makes us despair at their malice and meanness. And how pleased I am for you, as you do not, as this kind of behaviour makes one doubt the humanity of mankind.
You thank me for my love; all I have done is given you trouble and grief. God will reward you for your kindness and care.
If you should write to Frau Bisch, perhaps you could send her the same sender’s address as you have. I don’t know where we will be. I don’t receive acknowledgement from anyone; it is all in God’s will.
My clear source of comfort, stay well. If I don’t write you will know that it is because of impossible circumstances. My sisters-in-law are no longer in Beuthen; they wrote to me previously.
Completely devastated. My last farewell.
Love and kisses,
All letters translated from the German originals by Helga Brown, geb. Steinhardt, BA, Dip. Ed.
On Yom HaShoah, in commemoration of all our family members who were not rescued
And who did not escape