The other day a friend posted an article on my Facebook page. It was about Hitler’s personal photographer and included photographs of Polish Jews shortly before they were sent off to concentration camps. One of these photographs was a beautiful young woman. To this day, her identity remains unknown. I was overwhelmed by her photograph. Not wanting her to be forgotten, I have written this letter to her .
Dear Beautiful Young Woman,
It is 75 years since this photograph of you was taken, but to me, it seems like yesterday. I gaze at your beautiful smiling face and I think of my own 4 children. I feel the tears trickle down my cheeks. You were someone’s daughter, granddaughter, possibly sister. I am sure you, like my children, had your hopes, dreams and expectations about the years ahead. I wonder what you might have done with your life if you had been allowed to live. Would you have gotten married to your beloved and raised a family, whose future generations would be alive today to honor your memory? Would you have made contributions to society that impacted lives? Would you have had a circle of friends who you connected with through out your life? Would you have attended simchas (joyful events), cried at the funerals of loved ones and been there for those who needed you? There were so many possibilities that were taken away from you.
After viewing your photograph, I can’t walk away from it and forget you. I am going to make a copy of your picture and frame it. Though I know it is already part of a collection and millions of people will view it for a brief moment, I feel that you deserve more. I want you to have a family who remembers you and loves you. I am sure I will cry more tears over you, like I sometimes do over my loved ones who have gone to heaven. I miss them and now I will miss you.
If I could step into your photograph and give you a hug, I would whisper in your ear, “You will never be forgotten!”
(photo courtesy of Time & Life.Getty Image)