Ela, my dearest daughter,
I will no longer be in this world when you read this letter. I don't know if you'll even get to read it because I'm not sure yet if I'm going to leave it with the notary.
Dearest Ela,
You have always been our pillar of strength and our pride.
Like your elder son, Dudus. When he received a professorship from the university, you wondered why Mother and I were giggling (it was funny that it was a catholic university). Anyway, we decided that a professor should no longer be called Dudus but only by his full name.
When Grandfather and Grandmother died, you were probably surprised that this house was left, not to Mother or me, but to yourself.
I know you have always had clashes with Mother, but she was the one who told Grandpa that it was the right thing to do.
Now, this property is entirely yours. As it always really was, even more so than you can believe.
Grandfather received it from the Gaul family, with all the duly notarized papers, when they were ordered into the ghetto.
Grandfather and Grandmother forbade all discussion on the subject. And Mother used to say 'don't wake the wolf' since what is done cannot be undone.
When a relative of the Gauls came here a few years ago, we only gave him the mezuzah, which was once placed on the Gauls' door.
At one time, I even went to Father Musial, who baptized you, to confess. But he said that it was a matter between me and God.
But when Mother died, I made a decision.
You always knew that Agata, who was shot by mistake near the ghetto, was your mother. We have never hidden it from you.
We raised you as if you were our own beloved daughter.
Even if Mother was hard on you, it was only due to her grief.

I would like to tell you about Agata, your life mother.
She was always a little strange. She had only one friend at school, Gaul's daughter, Genia. They were such close friends that either Genia slept at our place or Agata spent days with Genia at the Gaul's home. We were even a bit upset at her because she began to speak Yiddish to us.
The Gauls were not very religious. They observed their holidays and the Sabbath but without any pomp or ceremony.
They treated Agata like their second daughter. All the neighbors were puzzled by the situation and said that Agata was probably some type of changeling.
The girls finished school, and Genia married just before the Germans came.
When the Gaul family moved into the ghetto, it wasn't so severe to begin with, and Agata often visited Genia there. Genia came to visit us too, but it stopped when she got pregnant. Then it became worse because they stopped issuing passes from the ghetto.
Genia was sent to work just after she gave birth to the baby, even though she was still weak. Then a Gestapo man beat her into unconsciousness. She was brought home almost dead, and the baby was neglected because the Germans had taken the old Gauls away.
Then when Agata slipped into the ghetto, she took the baby and brought her to our place.
We had the baby for almost six months when it happened.
Genia wasn't getting better. She asked Agata to see her child before she died. Agata, that silly girl, agreed. She went to the ghetto through an underground passage with Genia's child. When Agata was on her way back, a patrol spotted her at the breach point in the ghetto wall.
We knew about it from the letter Genia's husband, who followed her out, sent us from the ghetto.
The patrol thought it was a Jewish woman who wanted to escape from the ghetto, and they just shot her.
The poor girl did not die right away. When one of the patrol officers approached her, she told him that if he had God in his heart, he would deliver her child to us. He came with the child and left immediately. The child was you, my dearest Ela.
And that's why we could never tell you who your father was.
After that letter, we did not hear anything from him or Genia.
The ghetto was emptied. Only corpses remained. The rest were probably taken to the Treblinka death camp.
Ela, my love. This is how I settled my account with God.
May the Lord protect you.
Your father Jan.

Alex Wieseltier - Uredte tanker
Alle rettigheder forbeholdes 2019
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