Last Letters from the Holocaust: 1943

"I Left Everyone at Home"


"I left everyone at home, Mother and Father, in the ghetto, everyone. I feel terrible for leaving them in the thieving hands of Hitler's robbers."

These words were written by Tuvia Grin on a postcard he sent from Balakhna to his sister Hava in Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine). It was the last sign of life from him.

In the personal letters from the Holocaust period, we find descriptions of the sufferings in their daily existence and the hardships endured by Jews wishing to receive news of their loved ones from whom they were forced to part. The letters reveal the fateful decisions they were forced to make in order to survive, including those made by parents forced to separate from their children.

This exhibition comprises ten last letters. Two of them were written by daughters to their parents. The girls were murdered, but the parents survived.

Last Letters from 1943

The letters featured in this exhibition were sent from Ukraine, Bulgaria, Germany, Holland, Greece, Poland, France and Russia. They were written in different languages: German, Dutch, Yiddish, Ladino, Polish and French. One of them, a short missive, belongs to a distinct group among the letters housed in Yad Vashem's Archives: letters written on special International Red Cross forms that were sent from German-occupied territories. The residents of these areas could not use regular postal services to make contact with those in countries at war with Nazi Germany, such as Great Britain and its mandatory territory Eretz Israel. These letters only allowed for few words, and mostly one form of wording: "We are well," details of names, "We hope you are also okay," and suchlike. However, occasionally the Red Cross letters contained information on an upcoming deportation or other encrypted details, which only the recipients could understand.


11 February 1943


"No news of our dearest ones"


3 March 1943

Deportation train, France

"Don't forget to be a Jew and also a human being"


17 March 1943

Gorna Dzumaja, Bulgaria

"We don't know when we are leaving"


26 March 1943

Neede, The Netherlands

"Until we return"


5 April 1943


"Hug our beloved children for us"


April 1943

Warsaw ghetto

"What will be afterwards – God only knows"


10 June 1943


"I hope that things will not become worse"


June 1943

Bilcze Złote, Poland

"Mother, don't be upset that I'm writing so little"


28 July 1943

Będzin, Poland

"Lots of kisses from your mother"


27 August 1943

Balakhna, Russia

"I left everyone at home"