Letter from Dr. Regina Zohker


Translated by Israel Pickholtz

Web www.buchach.org
Cracow, 14 January 1945

My Dear Doctor! [written with respect, using a third person form of address, which I shall ignore here]

I wrote to you some time ago, as one of those closest to me outside Poland – but did not receive a reply. Since I attribute the silence to the vagaries of the mails, I am writing again. Perhaps this time I shall succeed.

What can I write? There are so many confusing and weighty thoughts in my mind that it is difficult to force organization upon them and to express them clearly. But no one should be surprised at that, after what we have been through, irons saved from the fire, what we have seen and suffered, who can comprehend us? No man can understand it, perhaps only a mother's heart could feel the immensity of our suffering and pain.

Despite that much is being written and spoken about it, I am quite certain that you there – Jews, English, Americans – cannot fully fathom the painful events which have befallen us. Anyone who has not himself encountered the Germans, in the Gestapo, in the SS, in the gangs, who has not seen the "actions" with his own eyes – the hunt not of wild animals but of Jewish people, sick and healthy, old and young (and they all so wanted to live… ), anyone who has not seen brains splattered on the walls of homes, anyone who has not seen the butchered bodies and who has not seen the rivers of Jewish blood flowing in the streets – literally that – anyone who has not spent days in a death car to Belzec with no water, no food, no opportunity for basic physiological needs; anyone who has not witnessed the heart-rendering scenes as people left this life, and anyone who has not seen the beastly and sadistic crimes of Hitler's people – cannot understand us.

I see that I have written things beyond my intent, but it is hard to restrain myself.

The only survivor from my family was Mrs. Mina Salzman (nee Halperin) and her daughter. The rest are gone.

Regina Zohker