Sunday, December 23, 2007


(written end 1939, early 1940)

This prospect makes beaten the heart
of all human beings. And also I myself
I can't deny to be more than happy
to get into possession of this sum (I am not sure
that it will be sufficient) that me perhaps
would enable to transpose
a thought into reality
a thought that makes you laugh
perhaps at me.

For the begin I should buy a nice place
some where in the world, where spring never is ending.
On the spot I would let build
a sort of a little garden town,
each one of the little houses lead out
in a modern and comfortable way
had to serve to a particular purpose,
as there are sporting - school - bathing places,
modern study rooms and so on.

Having finished this first part of my project
I would go to look for poor little orphans
between one and six years.
This children had to be
of all classes of society and races.
I should engage teachers
that are well known with the requirements
of children's education, men of an ideal apprehension.
Then I should start my very task.

The children, brought up by clever, intelligent,
and good-hearted men, each of them
well instructed in a manner which is corresponding
with its inclinations and capabilities,
this children, by the time grown up,
ought to be the proof of my view of life:
are the bad qualities of mankind born with them
and inherited in them by their ancestors
to be effaced, if they have no possibility
and no reason to struggle one against the other?
Is the evil in the hearts of mankind
only caused and produced
by the struggle of life?

This question to see answered
would certainly pay the pains of a whole life.
But I doubt, my honourable benefactor,
that a one million of dollars will do
and therefore I propose you
to raise this little sum to let us tell,
one million of pounds
(if you agree!)

+ + + + +

Elisabeth Klein, a German Jew, was deported to Auchwitz, then transferred to Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Alsace where she was gassed in August 1943, sacrificed to the skeleton collection of Dr Hirt.

The text above was written neatly in ink as an English study exercise. It was later corrected by someone in blue crayon with the exclamation 'Sure!' at the end. The original document (or a copy of it) can be viewed in the Struthof memorial museum.

The text here is the uncorrected one. I have tried to transcribe the words accurately from the original. The line breaks used above are my own.


Lucy said...

Truly terrible. This was a loving and respectful thing to do.

It seems inappropriate to say Happy Christmasd, but still.

Jonathan Wonham said...

Hello Lucy

Happy Christmas to you too.