Woman’s Moving Letter To Her Husband And Son Miraculously Survived The Holocaust—But She Did Not

On July 11, 1944, at the Auschwitz concentration camp, Vilma Grunwald, quickly wrote a note to her husband, Dr. Kurt Grunwald, before she was put onto a truck headed for the gas chamber. Vilma knew her fate and wrote 10 sentences to comfort her husband and youngest son who were being held elsewhere at Auschwitz. Vilma, along with her oldest, handicapped son, and hundreds of others Jews would never be heard from again.

Vilma took a chance, and after folding the letter, wrote her husbands name and “F Lager” on the outside. She then gave the letter to a Nazi guard. As a prisoner and a doctor, her husband was at the camp treating other prisoners so they could return to work. “F Lager” would tell the guard the barracks where her husband was imprisoned. 

One can only imagine the sense of panic Vilma must have been feeling at that moment, but her extraordinary letter shows none of that. Instead it is a letter of love and concern for her husband and son. Miraculously, the guard delivered the letter and now 74 years later the letter is housed at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

In the letter Vilma wrote:

You, my only one, dearest, in isolation we are waiting for darkness. We considered the possibility of hiding but decided not to do it since we felt it would be hopeless. The famous trucks are already here and we are waiting for it to begin. I am completely calm. You — my only and dearest one, do not blame yourself for what happened, it was our destiny. We did what we could. Stay healthy and remember my words that time will heal — if not completely — then — at least partially. Take care of the little golden boy and don’t spoil him too much with your love. Both of you — stay healthy, my dear ones. I will be thinking of you and Misa. Have a fabulous life, we must board the trucks. “Into eternity, Vilma.

Seventeen months after Vilma and her oldest son were murdered, Auschwitz was liberated. 

Her younger son, then known as Misa, now goes by the name Frank. He and his father survived the concentration camp and moved to New York City in 1951 where Kurt continued practicing medicine. In 1967 at the age of 67 Kurt passed away. Frank, became an industrial designer. He married his wife, Barbara, and raised two children. He is 85-years-old. 

In a series of tweets, McKay Smith an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, and  professor at the George Washington University Law School and the George Mason University School of Law, shared photos of the family along with their story.  

The letter and story have struck a deep chord with people.

H/T: USA Today