I received your letter, greeting and check. I am very grateful to you for everything. I am glad that in our un-simple times there are such people as you. In my long life I have learned to understand that the most important thing in this world is goodness and compassion. In the most difficult days of life you will begin to understand a lot. I, like you, with my entire heart feel for our people, our tragic history, our homeland. Again I thank you all for everything and wish health to all of you.
With great esteem and love,
NOTE: Hirsh is one of the last Jews in Nementshin (Nemencine), north of Vilna. He was born in Mariampol (in local Yiddish: Marnpol) in 1932. He and his parents had the “good fortune” to be sent to Siberia on June 14th 1941 during the great deportation, because his father was classed as a “bourgeois exploiter” for owning a tiny uncut clothing-material shop. Hirsh spent a total of 19 years in Siberia, and returned to his native Lithuania in 1960. Things were going okay for the family in the later 1960s and they built themselves a nice comfortable house of the white brick that was considered “high class” in Soviet times. Later in life he was educated first in Russian literature and then in mathematics and physics which he taught until poor health forced his retirement.
In recent years, Hirsh’s meager pension (for having been deported) doesn’t suffice for the medicine he needs. To buy even some medicine, he and his wife had to abandon their home, which they cannot afford to heat in the winter and minimally maintain, and they have moved into what was built as the garden utility shed in the backyard. They live in extreme poverty.