"I hoped that we would see each other again, but now I have lost all hope. Once, only once to have the chance to see you again, and then – may the worst happen."
Ida Goldiş wrote these words in her last letter to her older sister Clara, on the eve of her deportation from the Kishinev ghetto to Transnistria.
In October 1941, Ida Goldiş née Bidus was deported from the Kishinev ghetto to Transnistria, together with her little son Vili and her younger sister Doba. Her husband, Yosef, was in a Romanian army labor battalion.
Ida, Vili and Doba were forced to make the arduous journey on foot together with the rest of the deportees from the ghetto. Ida and Doba took turns carrying Vili on their backs, using a special harness that they had sewn for him. In early 1942, the young child froze to death in the bitter cold, and his mother, who had lost the will to live, perished a few days later after drinking contaminated water. Ida was 24 when she perished, and Vili was just three years old.
Ida managed to smuggle the letter out of the ghetto via a non-Jewish messenger who worked with Doba in the bakery. The letter was given to Clara, who had remained in Romania. Clara and Doba (later Schwarz) survived. They immigrated to Israel, and kept the letter. In 1979, Doba Schwarz submitted Pages of Testimony in memory of her sister Ida and her nephew Vili. Yosef also survived and immigrated to Israel.
The letter, written in Romanian, was donated to Yad Vashem by Doba's daughter, Yehudit Shelly, who worked in the Yad Vashem Archives.
Yesterday I sent you a postcard which, if you receive it, will cause you a great deal of sorrow. I am writing to you now thanks to the good will of this gentleman, and I beg you not to tell mother the truth, since it is too awful and I do not want this matter to impair her health, which is poor anyway. My dear sister, for a few days a terrible danger has been hanging over our heads. We are be sent on foot to Ukraine for "resettlement" there (so they tell us). You can imagine our situation when we must go such a long way on foot, the weather being so cold, with a small child and with the few things which we will be able to carry along, that is to say, only food for the journey. They say that we shall be sent in groups of 2,500 persons, so that within four days nobody will remain here. The first group left yesterday, among them Rosa with the children, may God protect them. Yesterday, our Committee here sent a representative to the authorities, so they postponed our departure for twenty-four hours, for the time being, and there is hope that it will be postponed for another six months, meaning, until spring. At six o'clock we will receive the final answer, and you can imagine how anxious we are. Perhaps, as a result of this extension even the group that has already left will return. I ask you, my dear sister, to answer me through this gentleman. Perhaps he will still find us here, and maybe these will be the last words I will receive from you. My darling, the things and the money which you sent me helped me greatly and arrived at the right time. From the wool that you sent me I made a thick scarf for Vili's neck, because who knows how many days we will be on the road; at least may God give us fine weather. I beg you not to spread this news in order not to bring any harm to this man of good will. My dear, please look after Mother, since you will be the only remaining member of her family. Never do what we have done, never part from her. How much I envy you that you are lucky enough to be near her. You remember how I used to scold you for being cowardly, for not being active enough, claiming that one must try to fight for one's existence. I do not regret anything, such is human life. The only thing I regret is that I will never set eyes on you again. I am suffering so much. I hoped that we would see each other again, but now I have lost all hope. Once, only once to have the chance to see you again, and then – may the worst happen.
Farewell, my dear ones! My beloved Mother, my good Father, you were the first ray of sunshine that warmed my life. I did not know how to preserve this warmth, I left without so much as casting a backward glance. I was too full of illusions about the future to be able to understand that I was abandoning a happiness that I would never recover. You remember, my dear sister, how embarrassed I felt when you wept at our leave-taking, and how angry I was with you because of your tears, since I was not going to die (so I thought). Forgive me, my dear, it was I who was the fool. I was light-headed, I believed that the world was mine for the taking. Apparently I was too naive. But what's the use of apologizing? I regret from the very depth of my soul that, on departing, I did not realize the importance of the moment, that I did not take a long, long look at you, so that your image would remain deeply engraved in my soul like an icon, that I did not hug you tightly, never releasing you from my arms. Now I look back in vain, it is hopeless, since fate has struck a cruel blow at our lives; I may try ever so hard to get nearer to you, and yet we are being dragged away relentlessly, further and further. I want so much to be together with you (after all, we did succeed in becoming close again), to rest at your feet, tired from so much hardship, to find peace there and to leave you never more. Often I have lain awake at night and imagined the moment when I would meet you again; I drugged myself with these thoughts and enjoyed endlessly that waking dream.
Now I have no hopes left, God did not want us to meet again. I suppose that I have sinned too much. Goodbye, my darling sister, good luck to you, bring up your dear children in happiness and good health. Thousands of kisses on your sweet eyes. Does Revelina still remember me? May it be God's will that you soon see Carol again and that you live happily without worries and suffering. Kisses to Father and Mother, may they live in good health and enjoy better news. Doba and Vili send you thousands of kisses and a fond farewell.
Clara, answer me please.
Goodbye forever, all my thoughts are with you.
p.s. Clara darling, for the second time within the last two days our departure has been postponed for twenty-four hours, so there is still hope that we will be saved. Do not be tormented by what I have written.