Linz, 30 May 1945
I know well I have no right to trespass on your dutiful time—but before entering into the subject I think some introductory explanations would be of importance. In any case I shall try to be as concise as possible, although the very nature of my topic is likely to let my pen ramble far beyond any preconceived limits.
Who am I? A Polish Jew 28 years old, with University education; man deprived of everybody and everything, but instead rich of experiences; so that much more essential would be the question: who have I been?
From the very beginning of this most tremendous of all wars I have been living in Poland, under German occupation facing the hell on earth as martyr and witness in one person. There is not any suffering imaginable either moral, or physical or material I would not have gone through during these six fateful years.
Physically rather weak, I have had to my advantage another form of resistance: my spirit. For all this time I’ve never ceased to believe in the final victory of Humanity and Justice and never ceased to hope in my personal survival.
The conscience of possessing some quantity of Anglo-Saxon culture—I studied English literature in Cracow under of greatest Polish Anglicist [sic], Professor Roman Dyboski, has imparted to me the reassuring feeling that I am in a certain degree representative of Anglo-American potentialities. And it is, without a doubt, this psychological attitude of mine which is to be seriously taken into account when I try genuinely to explain the phenomenon of my personal survival.
It was not earlier than in the last period of my war biography, about two month before the end of the European cataclism [sic], that my physical organism collapsed: diarrhea, this mortal camp disease became my share too and in the course of following weeks I grew more and more exhausted and emaciated—till the miserable condition in which I was found by the Liberation. From there in a few days I was together with others transferred into the local hospital.
Since have passed several weeks. I was better already and I tried to descend steps. And then came a collapse with a heart disease.
For the time being I am very far from being healthy, indeed I don't feel any bettering of my general state at all.
What are the reasons?
Here, in the hospital, all is lacking, all is failing. Medicaments as well as eating (quality and quantity!), treating as well as nursing.
Example: a daily ration: 1/3 of brown bread; never any butter nor jam.
You are treated by a young German physician. An enemy of yesterday should be your benefactor of today?
It would take much time to enlarge on the subject; and I won't weigh you so long with my complaints.
My strongest wish now is to recover; to rejuvenate my breath not in the mere egoistical aim of enjoying my life, but to be able to serve and further my ideas and realize my life’s aim: which consists in becoming a writer (I’ve got a nerve for it) in English language, nowadays a most universal means of literary expression (I already wrote several things in my Polish before the war).
That's why I've decided to address myself to you. I beg you, may I implore you, to help me out of my predicament by transferring to the hospital of yours.
For years I have dreamed about your victorious arrival and now when the longed for time is come—I am away from you, cut off from any contact with the civilization and culture that you represent and for which we have been so long and so desperately fighting.
The staying with you would prove, I presume—as most promoting my ultimate aims. I am ready to accompany you where you go and—as I know besides English and my mother-tongue Polish: German, French, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Jewish1 and Esperanto—I may be in Europe of some use to you (I've got a lot of practice as an interpret [sic]).
Who am I now? An orphan of the world. And you are in a position to restore the sens [sic] to my life: to create a new (first spiritual) home for me and the possibilities of fulfilling my life’s aims.
I hope you won’t refuse to make this salutary gesture . . .
P.S. I beg you very much for an immediate written answer; ill men are so impatient . . .