• My Dearest Mathew,

    The days of my youth seem so far away, and yet… so near, with memories that are engraved into my mind like words carved into granite .Can it really have been 76 years ago, that that unimaginable invasion occurred? Can I really be 91? I keep thinking that I’m going to die soon, but I manage to wake up morning after morning. Stuck in a world where you can no longer by my side.

    Neither of us knew the way our parents would react to the two of us eloping. I knew they were apposed to the thought of me being married into a Jewish family, and I knew the risk I was taking. I was in head over heals love with you and I didn’t care. As there only daughter, I was disgracing the family name, they warned me that if I were to marry you, then they would disown me. They thought they could scare me into changing my mind. But my decision had already been made, I could not live without you. I saw religion as but a minor thing to give up for the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I knew my parents would not speak to me after words, so I left them a note explaining that I loved them but could not do what they asked me by not marrying you.

    My parents had done what they had said. They cut all ties connecting them to me. That much I had expected, but neither you nor I could ever have predicted what was to come. We were but 16 and 17? When our town was invaded. We had only been married for a year. You had found us a place of refuge. I sill remember those dreadful years of hiding. We did our best to stay hidden, but we were found by the green guard anyway. By then I was 18 and you 19. Despite my parents pleading and begging with the army to give us a pardon, but their best efforts were not good enough. We were shipped off to a concentration camp.

    The concentration camps were the most dreadful, vial, torturous places. In the beginning, it was not so bad. They told us that once the war was over, we would be able to return home. But one evening, we heard word that things had taken a turn much worse then anyone would have expected. The war had gotten worse, and the soldiers apparently needed more food (or so they said) so they began to lessen the limited food we had already been receiving and made it even less. On good days, we received very little food, and on bad days… none at all. As our time in the camps stretched from days, to months, to years, our time there seemed to stretch on and on. That’s when people began to disappear, in the middle of the night men, women, and children were being dragged from their beds. No one knew where they went. They never came back. Along with that, people were starving to death; some would just fall over and then they would be gone. You and I had our suspicions about the disappearances, but I had always hoped that we both were wrong.

    We waited for things to get better, but it seemed that the longer time elapsed, the more blinded people became by the violence. We now knew for sure that people were being murdered. They set up gas chambers. People had to take off their clothes and go into these boxed rooms, were everyone was killed!!!! I don’t recall a single night from that point that I could sleep without a nightmare. You always had to calm me so I could go back to sleep.

    One night, they came for you, and I could do nothing!!! I was so malnourished I couldn’t fight back to save you. It tore me up inside to know that if I had been a little bit stronger, that I might have been able to save you. The soldiers herded people into these gas chambers like cattle about to be slaughtered. They pushed as many people in as they could .I could hear you scream that you loved me before your were shoved in as well. I’m not sure if you heard me… but I said “I love you too” as loud as I could over my sobbing breaths as I crumpled to the ground from the pain of losing you… the door was then quickly bolted and locked. The screaming of agony was so horrid; I can still remember the sound. That memory is forever engraved into my memory like so many others.

    The very next day, I do not remember the date, but I do know I was around 27 years of age; American soldiers attacked the camps and freed us. In my head I reminded myself how if you had been alive for one more day, then you would be able to be here with me.

    Late nights at the camp when I couldn’t sleep, you would often tell me that if anything were to happen to you, I would never be alone and you would always be with me in my heart. But it did not change how I felt. The feeling of guilt hung over me for so very long. When we were taken into the concentration camps. I was heartbroken at the thought of ever losing you. When you were actually gone… heartbreak was not a strong enough word to describe the way I felt when… I cannot finish that sentence. For if I do, I fear that I might begin to cry and cry and cry.

    My Dearest, not even Hitler’s Army nor Hitler himself with his murderous, anti-Semitism, immoral, black hearted coldness could take away our love we shared. He might have taken you from me, starved us both, and treated us lower than the dirt his soldiers treaded on, but my love for you will still go on forever until I die and can be with you once again. Maybe once I die, my mind may be set free from these terrible memories and feelings trapped inside my brain. I have often considered suicide to ease the pain and help me come back to you sooner, but that would be disgraceful to ALL the people who, like you, had no choice in the matter of whether they would live or die. You are my one and only love. Forever that will stay

    You’re Lillian