Letter #

404

Author: 
Sala Garncarz

Date:

8/28/1940

Summary:

This excerpt from Sala's diary begins with leaving the station for Geppersdorf. Sala attempts to encapsulate her sadness at saying goodbye to her friends and family. Writing, "Remember me... I got what I wanted," Sala suggests that she is excited for an upcoming adventure.

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Full Translation

At 7:00 o’clock AM, we all arrived at Skladowa Street. After our names were checked, we went to the railroad stations where we waited until 11:00 AM. Dear beloved girls! How can I describe this waiting period? Was I dreaming? Yes, I had been dreaming, from 5:00 o’clock in the morning until we arrived at the designated location. At 6:00 o’clock, it was Sala [Rabinowicz] who first arrived, my sweet Sala. At 7:00 o’clock, I had you all with me: all my dear ones, Sala, Gucia, Bala, Chancia, and Hela. My dearests! If you could have looked deep in my heart, you would have seen how desperate I was; still I tried to keep a smile on my face as best I could, though my eyes were filled with tears. One must go on bravely and courageously, even if the heart is breaking. I said goodbye to my dear old father. Dear father, will you miss your Sara a lot? The intolerable girl? My father cried…yes, he did cry when we were saying goodbye. Onward. Accompanied by all my sweet girlfriends, we started out. Where to? Why? Only the future will tell. I said goodbye to Hela and Chancia first, then Bela; the poor girls had to leave to attend to the store. I remained with Gucia and Sala, and both of them stayed with me until it was time to depart. Mother dearest, I have not mentioned you until now. I was not looking at you, though I was consumed by you. You were pleading with me, you were begging me, almost yelling at me – yet, I want to do what I want to do. Now it’s so hard to say goodbye; what can I say to you, what to wish you? I said nothing. I did not wish you anything, did not ask you for anything. Still, I could not stop looking at you Mother, because I felt something inside of me tearing, hurting. One more kiss, one more hug, and my mother does not want to let go of me. Let it end already, it is torture. Then I say goodbye to my sisters. I step into the line-up, and looking around me, I see Sala and Gucia, my faithful friends, standing at a distance (since they are not allowed to be near.) Except for my mother and sisters, here everybody and everything are strangers to me. With whom are you leaving me, and to whom are you sending me off? Dear girls!!! I got accustomed to you more than to my sisters, and now I have to leave you and must go into the unknown world. Will I ever see all of you again? Sala, does it seem possible that I will not be in your house tomorrow to play cards with Frymcia? And you, Szemek, can you believe that you won’t see me again tomorrow? I wonder if he will remember me, or talk about me. But what right do I have to demand it? We are starting to move. Goodbye everybody; remember me, only please do not pity me, because nobody forced me to do this. I got what I wanted. God help me!!! [page 3 of original missing here] I am together with Miss Ala, also with us is Miss Solnowna. There are about fourteen women, and we shall try to enable our brothers to live in a way where they will not feel the change which took place in their lives. TUESDAY OCTOBER 29, 1940 I woke up very early as I slept very little. I look around; so it seems I spent one night in my “new home.” I am shivering from cold and my head feels terribly heavy. One by one, the girls look around, taking their time to get up. Get up! Lots of work is waiting for us. A stove is being set up; Pola makes the stovetop very hot, and now my soul is uplifted. Somehow, things would turn out all right. Miss Ala also cheers us up, she is such a terrific and courageous girl. Even though she came from a well-to-do home, she is able to adjust to present circumstances without fighting them; what’s more, she is even able to give us hope. Our dinner consisted of barley soup, which was less than tasty. Well, that too shall pass. In the evening, we were assigned beds. Great. There is a lower level and an upper level. I can imagine how it will feel to sleep on the upper level. Miss Ala and I reserved one such accommodation. The bed will be Rozia’s _?_ and Hela Grinbaum _?_ a lively girl who, like all girls, like to flirt. In addition to Hela, there is Perla B., and E. Kestenberg, also Glaizman. Tonight, I slept with Miss Ala; what a delight. I love her. This afternoon, as they were giving out food coupons in our room, an old Jew came by feeling weak and hungry. He warmed himself by the stove. We felt pity for him and asked him where he is from; he poured his bitter heart out telling us about himself. He is from Sosnowiec, has a wife and children, and all of them are in the community. He was allowed to stay home…but one guy insisted that he must go. So even here an act of revenge was carried out – against whom? Against an old, sick Jew. Oh, be cursed, you who did it, and the others who are like you. After that, we cried for half an hour, Ala hugging me, about him and our own fate. We have to get hold of ourselves. At the table, I spoke a bit with our young German office clerk, who seems pleasant. I found out from him that he knows my brother. I like to hear him talk, because I like the German language a lot, and besides, he is a pleasant fellow. After we straightened up the beds, we cleaned up, and I helped to wash the dishes. ______? [PAGE ORDER UNCERTAIN] I peeled potatoes. One more thing – I mended gloves for the soldier, for which I had to accept 50 groszy, even though I objected. In the late afternoon, he gave me ? ? ? WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 1940 We slept quite well last night. After a bit of cleaning and shaking the blankets, we ate breakfast. Hela had brought with her some Lithuanian cheese, which she shared with us. We also had bread and butter – an excellent breakfast. For dinner, we had cabbage soup, quite tasty too. I found out quite by chance that [Laybcio]the boyfriend of my cousin Rozia from Olkusz is here, among the men. I looked for him and found him. When I spoke to him in the evening, he told me in sadness that Rozia surely is crying now. He is such a sweet guy, strongly built, but his face betrays his young age. He really does love Rozia. Yes, Rozia, you can be proud of him. Everybody likes him; I shall try as hard as I can to help him since he is my future cousin. [ANOTHER PAGE MISSING] Also this evening, Ala and I gave him [?] a postcard to send home, which we hope will get there. You must understand that we are not allowed to let anybody hear from us, while everyone at home is going crazy with worry, thinking that we have disappeared. I washed his socks and I dried his shoes; the poor guy has a cold, still he went to work today. He was told that he might be excused tomorrow and I would be glad if he is excused. I have much to worry about today. Laybcio was let go by our boss on Thursday, but it now appears that it’s a bad situation. The authorities came to check on the workers at work, and discovered that nine workers stayed home. It was a scandal, and all of them were put in a separate room and then they were sent to work. And so, before bedtime, the entire camp was ordered to assemble. He requested, in a hoarse voice, that we do not make it more difficult for him to carry on his already difficult duties. Men are absolutely forbidden to be in the women’s section of the camp. There will be punishment for not obeying orders. Also we are forbidden to contact them. For us, it’s not too bad, but for the men, that is difficult. Well, maybe it’s better this way.