A warm greeting and best wishes to you! Thank you for such warm feelings toward me. Your letter warmed my soul and it seems as if we are related. Thank you. I write to you in Russian with the hope that you will understand all of it. I don’t know English. I studied in a Polish school (we were Poland before the war). My native language, which I learned from my mother, is Yiddish and thus it has remained my entire life. In 1941 the Germans shot my mother and almost all the Jews, in the first months of their arrival here, and the local Lithuanians helped them. My mother also had the “honor” to be among the very first of the victims to be shot, there was a mass grave where 8000 Jews were buried. It is our holy place that we watch over as survivors. In our district there are 11 more places, where they killed Jews. We have found them and have erected memorial stones at all of them. But even having done that, it is not easier.
I am on my feet, even though old. I am very grateful that you pray for me. I greeted the New Year at home … we raised our glasses to all near, dear and far friends in our hearts. You are among them! I am glad that you have such interesting work. This lengthens life! I am retired, that means that I worked for a long time. I don’t sit without doing something! Community work, the Jewish community, all things to preserve the memory of a blossoming Jewish town. I sometimes write articles in the Jewish press.
In Svencionys I am alone. My husband died six years ago. Solitude is very difficult! Although it is a sin for me to say that. Such is fate… I was 12 years in the gulag at Kolyma, as were many people in that terrible time under Stalin. My dear one, I am glad that I have such good friends. Come visit us, you will be the best guests!
I embrace all of you, with the very best feelings. Be healthy and happy,
Your Bluma
NOTE: Bluma Katz, writer, historian, vibrant leader of the Jewish Community in Svencionys, Lithuania, passed away in October 27, 2006, just shy of her 94th birthday.