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Letters to Sala

Letters to Sala


Ala Gertner
Letter to Sala Garncarz, in German, Bendsburg, Poland, September 24, 1941
NYPL, Dorot Jewish Division, Sala Garncarz Collection

Sarenka [little deer], you giddy girl!

I know, you were disappointed, but I couldn’t help myself. I know that I spent too little time with you [when you were home], but you have to understand why. To begin with, the vacation was short. Then my work, going home, even the bad weather, everything interfered this time.

But don’t think badly of me, and don’t lose hope. There is no reason why you shouldn’t trust me. I felt your reticence quite keenly. There is, Sarenka, no excuse. You are younger and should have a little more understanding of etiquette toward your elders. We can’t always say what we want to say, or all we want to say. In the camp, I protected you and surrounded you with warmth. You miss my caring, certainly, my golden precious, but Sosnowitz is different; and besides, I was in an exceptional position. I hope that you will get to know all my good sides better—those you know and those you don’t know yet. Everything in its own time. The next time, Sala.

But now you have to be a good girl. Don’t cry and pout. Who can and will understand me, if you act in such a foolish way? You’re silent—why? Write what you think, including the most minute details. Don’t be afraid, I always think of your release, just be patient.

I have remained the same Ala, even though I have so many possibilities and opportunities to become someone else. I am amazed myself: to be as attached to the camp as I am, is rare. Believe me, Sarenka, I am very sorry that you couldn’t stay with me. Do you remember the hours on Saturday when you came into my bed early in the morning? We amused and puzzled [everybody]. You wrote very well about how you feel about the camp. Sarenka, are you still in such a pessimistic mood? I consider myself lucky to have so much work. In this way, day after day passes quickly....

Sarenka, keep trusting me. I kiss you, as always, you beautiful girl. Give regards to all the women. Write me, clearly and in detail, okay? I ordered skin cream for you, I’ll send it together with the photos the next time.

Yours, Ala