Rachel, consumed by her grief, wrote this letter to her dead mother, Esther. In it, she lets Esther know of her former predicament.
February 7, 1946
I miss you dearly and mourn at the news of your death.
I just want you to know I am o.k. and made it out of Auschwitz alive
(just thinking of this camp fills my heart with hate.)
We were liberated on January 27, 1945. You
are very lucky you did not have to come because it was likely you would have
died sooner at Auschwitz than at Treblinka.
From 1940-1945 there was an estimated 1.5million
deaths in this camp which amounts to over 50% of the prisoners registered (this
is not counting the ones that went straight to the gas chambers for they were
Many of my friends were among them, and I cry myself to sleep thinking
of them and you.
It was not easy to sleep in the camp because of the poor living conditions
and the gunshots heard throughout the day and night (the bullets were mostly
aimed at escaping prisoners).
Many times I felt I could not go on because of starvation and disease
(which was very numerous) and wished I could join you.
Then I realized how hard that would be for daddy when he came home to
both his daughter and his wife.
Sorry to say he never came home, and neither did Peter.
Auschwitz was the largest concentration and extermination camp.
I feel very fortunate that I was not born in this camp, am very fit,
and look older than my actual years for children were often killed upon arrival,
and some thrown directly(while they were still alive)into the fire or the burning
Others were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated,
frozen to death, and put through many other forms of torture.
were five crematoriums and gas chambers
where many innocent Jews were eradicated by the heartless Germans.
I am very lucky to have survived because of the numerous experiments
performed on me by Dr. Josef Mengele(these same experiments killed Peter.)
I have lost sight in one eye due to an attempt to change my eye color
with an injection of dye.
You really donít want to hear the rest for it is to cruel.
I miss you dearly.
Love your caring daughter,
All images courtesy http://www.auschwitz.org.pl