Last letter from Estera

After Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Goldberg family were deported from their hometown of Lodz to Radogoscz concentration camp, before being sent to a makeshift camp near Krakow. Abram’s parents, Hersch and Chaja, had Bund connections in Krakow, which enabled them to travel illegally back to Lodz. Abram went with them but they left his two unmarried sisters, Estera and Frania, behind. The Goldbergs intended to return to collect the girls, but after the closing of the Lodz ghetto on 1 May 1940, they were unable to reach them. The family received irregular letters from Estera, including this postcard on 11 May 1942, informing them that Estera was now residing in Koszyce.

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Abram's sister, Estera

Postcard from Estera Goldberg to her family in the Lodz Ghetto

Postcard from Estera Goldberg to her family in the Lodz Ghetto.

Abram recalls: “In 1942 this came in the ghetto, addressed, not to us personally, but to the Elders of the Jews in Litzmannstadt (Lodz). On the other side, was printed that my sister, Estera Goldberg, was living in Germany. To let us know that she was alive and well? Was she still alive at this time? I don’t know. It is her name. The signature was supposed to be from the Judenrat (Jewish Council) in Koszyce.”

It is difficult to ascertain whether this document was written by Estera herself, and whether she was even alive by 1942 because the Nazis often forced camp inmates to write to their loved ones, allaying their fears about deportation in an attempt to convince others to join them. Sometimes inmates were forced to write multiple letters, which would be posted after the author’s death. Abram never found out the fate of either of his sisters. His third sister, Maryla, survived because she had moved to the Soviet Union with her husband.