The last, desperate letter from Ernst’s parents

EXCERPT FROM THE LONG NIGHT:

Märkstadt

“As time passed by we received more terrible news about the “Aussiedlung” – the resettlement of the Jewish population from many towns and areas, many of which were declared Judenrein” (cleansed of Jews). One morning, Meister Hermann brought me a letter. I opened it and read the few words. “We are standing in front of our wagons because our town is now Judenrein. Like other transports before us, we are probably going to the extermination at Auschwitz. Stay strong and make sure that you stay alive. And do not forget all this.”

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End of the line – Cases at Auschwitz

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Shoes from prisoners at Auschwitz

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Glasses from prisoners at Auschwitz

Now my family had also met its inescapable fate; its extermination. Sobbing, I sat in the workshop, my parents’ final lines in my hand as Meister Hermann entered. I told him what was in the letter. He thought it right to lock me in the workshop and went to work by himself. So I sat alone in the dark room, alone with my pain. I grieved for my parents, brother and sisters who were at that moment en route to the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where like millions of other Jews, they had to succumb to their pitiless fate. The picture of my parents, my sisters and my little brother was etched in my mind. I do not know how long I cried, but I swore to myself never to forget the murder of my innocent family.

At lunchtime, the Meister returned and persuaded me to eat something but I had no appetite. I could not eat a thing. Was there any reason for me to carry on living, working and fighting for this wretched existence? At this moment I was overwhelmed with the futility of my existence. The news of the Aussiedlung, the “resettlement”, actually my parents’ death sentence, had for the time being plunged me into a deep despair from which I recovered only very slowly.”

AuschwitzMarkstädt campMeister Wilhelm HermannRighteous Gentiles
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