"Mommy, we're going to die together,"
Genia, her husband Ber (Bronek), and their son Michál survived the selection, in Sosnowiec Ghetto. In August 1943, the ghetto was liquidated and Genia’s husband was murdered. Genia and her son managed to flee to the 'Aryan' side, where Genia obtained ID cards for them both by dint of her fluency in German and French (she was a graduate of the Sorbonne). She turned Michál over to the care of a Polish woman named Bronja, writing her a thank-you letter and asking her to take care of her son. Genia found a job running the household of a German physician. The doctor, instructed to relocate to Vienna for his work, offered to bring along Genia and her son. Some time later, Genia’s identity was revealed; she was taken to a prison, while Michál was placed in an orphanage. When the Gestapo informed Genia of her imminent deportation, she decided to take her son with her, fearing that the orphanage would be destroyed. In 1944, the mother and son were deported to Auschwitz and murdered; the children in the orphanage survived.
27 September 1943
Dear Miss Bronja,
It is so hard for me to write to you. Lately, terrible things have been happening to me. Life is too cruel.
Miss Bronja, I beg you, look after my son, be a mother to him.
My dear Bronja, give him everything with all your heart and I will be grateful to you until the end of my days.
He is so clever and he has a good heart. I am sure that you can find in your heart to love him.
Michael should eat as much as he can, for who knows what is to come? He must be strong and able to endure great suffering. Please make sure that he dresses warmly and that he also wears socks. I cannot write any more, my tears have all dried up. May God watch over you both.
My beloved Michal’leh,
Are you playing with other children? Are you getting along well with Miss Bronja? Write me a few lines every day. That way, you’ll learn to write me long letters.
Take care of yourself. Sleep in the warm pajamas that I gave you.