Holocaust Survivors and Remembrance Project:

"Forget You Not"™

A Letter from Auschwitz dated February 16, 1942
(with translation below)

A father congratulates his son for his sucessful medical examination for military service and describes his impressions of the forced working camp in Ausschwitz. He is an employee at IG Farben in the camp.
Letter from Auschwitz


Auschwitz, February 16th, 1942

Dear Walter,

You really surprised me, first of all, with your letter and second, with your announcement. I congratulate you on the results of your medical test for military service. If you want to join the air force that much, I won't spoil it for you and will send back the paper for you with my signature. I hope you get lucky with that as well, my friend. I take it for granted that you have to sign up only for the duration of the war. What happened to the other comrades who took the test? By the way, what did your mother think about your plan? She won't be too excited about it. You wrote that you will take your final examinations soon. Do the best you can to get a high score because if you want to succeed in life you must be able to do something. How did your examinations in vocational school go? Here it is a hellish mess, everything is upside down. They have built a village of barracks, and they are not small --on average some twelve to fourteen rooms per barrack and each is about six to seven meters long and about four and a half to five meters wide, with a nice corridor in the middle. Wehave five men to a room. Each of us has his own desk and closet for coats, office jackets, hats. They also have a concentration camp here with about 50,000 convicts. They all wear black and white striped suits. Most of them are Polish, but also German. Among the Polish are many men of the more intelligent class. They will keep them here on purpose. With these people we can get anything done, especially since many of them have learned a trade. Each one is working in his own trade. In the camp there are a furniture workshop, a sawmill, concrete shop, etc. In Poland, just one false move, and it is a striped suit. Break a leg and friendly greetings.

Your father



Special Selected Link:

1941 Historic Photographs of Birkenau (Auschwitz II) Under Construction