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Wartime Correspondence

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Anonymous Letter Thrown from a Deportation Train

Anonymous letter 1942
Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw

This letter was thrown from a deportation train somewhere in occupied Poland in December 1942. Like the similar letter from Gitla, the featured letter is a desperate attempt to communicate with loved ones following deportation. 

The history of the letter—and the means by which it came into the collection of a secret archive in Warsaw—is largely unknown.1 But there are hints at the letter's origins and its path. The author mentions the town of Płońsk, noting that the ghetto there had recently been cleared. The Bamów family—the objects of a cryptic request from the writer—lived on 6 Niska Street, one of the prominent streets in the Warsaw ghetto. The note was thus probably thrown off the train in Warsaw, possibly the day before another deportee, Gitla, threw hers from the train in Częstochowa

The anonymous author of this letter was likely murdered upon arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This letter forms part of Warsaw's Oyneg Shabes archive, organized by Emanuel Ringelblum. Archivists at Oyneg Shabes assembled traces of Jewish life in Warsaw to preserve them in the face of Nazi genocide. For a detailed history, see Samuel Kassow, Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007).

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Address of Receiver [blank]

Address [blank]

Please put this card 

into the nearest mailbox 


Płońsk 16.XII.42

It is morning. We are inside a railcar with the whole family. We left with the last departure. Płońsk has been cleared.

Please go to the [home] of the Bamóws on 6 Niska Street and give them our regards 

[illegible signature]

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
RG Number 15.079M
Date Created
December 16, 1942
Author / Creator
Płońsk, Poland
Auschwitz, Poland
Document Type Letter
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