It was scribbled by Vilma Grunwald to her husband Kurt. Kurt, who was a physician, had been saved from selection at Auschwitz, as had Vilma. But their oldest son was limping -- and targeted for death. Vilma chose to accompany him. Before she boarded the truck/gas chamber, she wrote a note to Kurt, and gave it to an elderly German guard. The guard found Kurt later, and handed him the note.
"You, my only one, dearest, in isolation we are waiting for darkness. We considered the possibility of hiding but decided not to do it since we felt it would be hopeless. The famous trucks are already here and we are waiting for it to begin. I am completely calm. You — my only and dearest one, do not blame yourself for what happened, it was our destiny. We did what we could. Stay healthy and remember my words that time will heal — if not completely — then — at least partially. Take care of the little golden boy and don't spoil him too much with your love. Both of you — stay healthy, my dear ones. I will be thinking of you and Misa. Have a fabulous life, we must board the trucks.
"Into eternity, Vilma"
Vilma and Kurt's other son, Frank, was also slated for death, but hidden by one of the prisoners. He and his father both survived. After the war was over, Kurt kept the note for more than two decades, then gave it to his son. Frank, who is now 85, couldn't bear to read it until recently.
It is thought to be the only existing letter, so far, at least, written by a person waiting for the death camp gas chamber.
|US Holocaust Memorial Museum|