PINSK, BELARUS, May 13, 2006
Greetings from Pinsk, Belarus!
Greetings to my dear beloved [ones],
I don’t know English, Yiddish also, poorly, I understand everything but do not speak. Thanks to Sonia we will continue to carry on our excellent relations. [NB: Sonia is a Survivor Mitzvah Project translator]. Which warms me. You are interested in how I lived before the war? I was born in Belarus in the town of Mogilyov in 1935. My father Finkel Zalman Shmerkovich. He perished at the front in 1942. Mama Leah Shlemovna died in 1982. My parents were workers. Now I will tell you where we were during the war. We were evacuated to Central Asia to the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. There we were in an orphanage. Because Mama was ill, there were three of us children, my sisters died a long time ago. I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone, I saw much grief and poverty. But God saved me from all sorrows. How did we end up in Pinsk? I had my mother’s sister (her husband perished at the front), she married a second time and they went to Pinsk. Then she invited us in 1951. How do I live now, you ask? Yes, I am very grateful to all my friends for the help, I have begun to live more easily. I pray to our God that there are in the world people who understand such people as myself. … You write that you would like to meet me, and that is my dream too.
On May 9 we had the holiday of Victory Day. Everything was magnificent. I watched it on television. I had three of my mother’s brothers die at the front, my aunt’s husband, my papa. In general the war brought much grief and sorrow. But this is all forgotten and I live now with other thoughts and cares.
It was a big family before the War, all of them went to the other world. Now I am alone. But I am an optimist. I live the way one ought. On Saturdays I go to the Synagogue. I pray for all of your health…I would like for you to send your photo. I will admire it … [you are] very beloved people to me, all my friends. I am very grateful to you all. That you would all be healthy, that you might know no sorrows, that there would always be pure skies. My dear friends I am very grateful to you. May God watch over you all, my beloved people. I kiss you all.