Dora P. – Vilnius, Lithuania

With great joy we received your beautiful letter and gift, the menorah. Many heartfelt thanks to you! For us here, the joyful holiday of Chanukah will start the 15th of December. I’m going to light this most beautiful menorah. I am simply delighted. The menorah will serve as a remembrance for the unforgettable holiday, one of the beautiful among them, that is especially suited for kids. First of all, you get a whole week off from school. You eat latkes. You play dreydl. I’m going to draw a dreydl for you and explain what it means. In my bygone childhood years, kids used to run to our house to buy dreydls from us. My father (may he rest in peace) was the only one in the Shtetl that was able to make dreydls. And later I, remembered how he made them, and having my own children, tried to make a dreydl and it came out well. I still have it to this day. When Dr. Dovid Katz was at my house I showed him the dreydl. He liked it very much. He said that the next time he comes he will take photographs of it. Nobody knows how to do this today, except perhaps in Israel? And he’s going to pass on the photographs to the Algemeiner Zhurnal. He should live and be happy. Dovid Katz is like a loyal son. He set it up so that I get this newspaper every week and a magazine from Paris once a month that is called “Yidishe Heftn.” And most importantly, he is responsible for our acquaintance, dear friends, you should only be healthy. Considering our loneliness, such an unfortunate people, who live among enemies, friendship is the dearest thing in life for us. I truly love our people and our language, this holy mother tongue. If everyone hates us, we really need to love each other…

Since the dark war, I have lost my trust … because I remember from before the war, what a grave mistake we made, thinking that we were living among people. And it turned out that we lived among beings worse than animals. An animal is only bad when it is hungry. But the two-footed animal is never satisfied…from human blood… We see and hear on TV what’s going on in the sinful world… a blood bath in Iraq. And it has been years already that blood gushes daily with no end in sight. And in our countries what is going on –Terrorists are raging throughout the world. And there is no rest for humanity. I still want to live to see peace for our small, accursed country, which is engulfed by a sea of troubles and pain with enemies that want to wipe us out; they should live no longer (amen).

… The main thing is that you are my dear and loyal friends; I am so lucky to have you. I don’t feel lonely. And this affects my life… As you write, you will answer right away in January, so I will wish you a good year in advance: Health and happiness, great success in all of your undertakings. Peace in our land and in the whole world. A warm, strong, inseparable friendship between us…Amen, amen…A heartfelt greeting for all of you from my daughter Frida. Everyone should stay healthy; I hope that my letter finds you in the best of situations.

Your dear friend, who wishes you all the best, Dora,
[NB: She is 96 years old] (In Hebrew and then in Yiddish) Lots of kisses!

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