Rahil F. – Grodno, Belarus

GRODNO, BELARUS – AUGUST 31 2005

I received your letter with congratulations on my birthday. There was $40 gelt and a postal coupon for return mail in the envelope. Great thanks for everything.

I can’t calm myself from such attention to me, it’s great happiness that people like you exist on earth…

I am looking at your photos and feel positive energy coming from them – you have such open faces, kind eyes and look.

Now about myself. My mum had 6 children, four daughters and two sons, everybody died, I am alone. Before the war we lived well, though not rich. Mother cooked tzimes (stewed carrots), potatoes with meat, baked buns (khala). During the war life was very hard for everybody as it was impossible to take anything with you during the [forced] evacuation. My sisters’ husbands were killed in the war, my brother in Minsk was shot by fascists. My father had stayed in Mohilyov to guard the factory, and fascists executed him.

It was very hard to begin life after the war, but step by step we established ourselves. We lived in a grey house where mostly Jews lived. It was a four-storey house but without any conveniences, everything was in the courtyard. So we lived in one room. Then they began to repair it and all the dwellers were resettled. We got a one-room flat and changed it for a place in Grodno. When we were younger, we ate poultry, made stuffed fish and ate broth with matzoh balls. All of our the pre-war photos were left with [burned by] the fascists, but there is one existing photo from when mother was alive. There is my brother, me, mother, my sister with my niece, my sisters’ nephews are also in it. My mother died in 1946.

My husband was also killed in the war, he was a journalist and worked as a newspaper editor-in-chief. So this is how life changed.

My pension is very little, thank you for your help and support. I sent you my photo, but you probably didn’t get it, so I sent you my photo at the age of 55 and a modern photo from my passport.

Thank you for everything. God bless your family. I’ve received all your letters so far.

With love,

Rahil

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