Holocaust survivor's thank you letter to Schindler

Dear Oskar Schindler, Five years have passed since the traumatic events of World War 2, yet I still cannot seem to move on.

I would like to tell you my story to help lift some weight off my shoulders and to remind you how much you have done for us all.

I had moved to Palestine with my two sisters five months after the war ended, but it seems as though my dark memories from my past have followed me here.

I cannot seem to escape them.

Living in Palestine is hard; the culture is so different to Poland. The cities and its buildings are all crumbled. It is nothing like Poland but the Palestinians still resent the Jews the same way the Germans did.

I cannot escape the terror of war.

There are so many Jews who have escaped to Palestine after the war for a fresh start.

The Palestinian people seem to think we, the Polish Jews, are trying to take over their country.

The people here are so cruel to the Jews. When we walk down the sidewalk they throw stones and scream abuse at us.

They treat us like animals, just like the Germans did.

I am sick of hiding like a rabbit from a hunter, I can't take this anymore.

It is terrifying; I am concerned another war will break out because of this.

I need a fresh start away from everything to do with war.

I am moving to New Orleans in America to be with my second cousin.

My sisters are both moving to Australia to be with my aunt.

I would love for them to come with me but they are determined to go.

I would like to thank you for saving me and 1200 others from death during the war.

I know that you used your own personal funds to save us, all 1200 of us.

You sacrificed your entire fortune.

While you may be poor, you will always have our eternal gratitude.

From the moment I met you I always knew you were not like them. You were different to the other Germans.

When I was working for Amon and he would beat me, you always told me to stay strong and the war would be over soon.

I had much respect for you for that. You gave me hope; you were the guiding light through those black days.

When I found out that I was leaving Amon to go and work for you, I silently smiled to myself. I couldn't have been happier.

One week later I was in the barracks with about 30 other women when three German soldiers came in screaming and shouting, ''Schnell, schnell, bewegen!''They rounded up 300 of us and I knew we were going to your factory.

I felt relieved, I thanked God for sending a miracle; you were our miracle in disguise.

When we were all rounded up they pushed us on to a cattle train; it was so cramped and I became breathless with the cold.

We travelled on the train for three days without break.

When we started to slow down, everyone that could peep out the window to see our final destination, did.

It wasn't what anyone had imagined.

There were people everywhere in striped uniforms shovelling snow.

I will always remember this little boy, all of 5 years old, standing on his own with a brown coat and pants on. He looked directly at me and pulled a death sign.

I felt intimidated and was silently panicked. I knew we were in deep trouble.

I kept it quiet because I didn't want to upset and alarm the others.

Maybe we were meeting Schindler here, I prayed silently to myself.

When the train came to a stop, we were all rushed out of it by women guards; there was terror and panic everywhere.

Smoke was billowing from chimneys, children were screaming for their parents, parents were screaming for their children. Children and elderly people were being forced into lines and marched down into concrete caves.

This was a place that I imagined hell would be like.

I stood there in shock; this could be the end, I told myself.

I could not see Schindler anywhere. Hope began to fade.

I couldn't see how we were going to get out of here. I had given up.

Then there you were, walking towards me. You had showed up. You were our saviour; to see your face made me the most relieved, happiest woman alive.

Twelve hundred people would not be alive today. Not only did you save 1200 lives, but you inspired me and many others to carry on.

Your resilience and strength inspired me and you are what truly kept me alive.

God bless you Oskar, you have shown me that there is good in the world and that it can battle evil and win.

 


By Ellen McCraw, Year 12, Lawrence Area School