June 7, 1939, Grodno, Poland
To my dear, sweet aunt!
My dear aunt! I haven't written to you for a long time and I ask for forgiveness, but it has been difficult for me to write.
I am no longer at home and soon it will be a year since I started studying at Grodno Yeshiva.
At first I thought that I would study only until my thirteenth year, which should have been Shabbat Nachamu [July 29, 1939] but at this time the two giants are preparing for war and especially Judaism and humanity, above whom dark clouds cover, and the world stands at a crossroad, questioning whether to go forward and continue civilization or return backward to the Middle Ages, where he who has power governs.
We have to return to the wellspring from which our forefathers obtained comfort, and for which our forefathers were killed or burnt in Germany and France and even killed each other and their wives and children during the Crusades. And our forefathers continued under the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. We have to return to the Torah, and the tradition that has been like rays of sun during the dark days of exile, and still continues the chain of gold of our forefathers.
I don't have enough words to express the feeling of my heart at this time, but each time I hear about the content of the White Paper, the masters should know that it won't be easy for them to do what they're thinking. They should know that the time that we used to go like sheep to the slaughter has passed, we who run away from the sound of a falling leaf. The time has passed and will never return that we only be killed sanctifying G-d's name.
The time has come that we shall kill and be killed sanctifying G-d's name, and if the oppressors wish to do us evil and steal from us our land then we shall fight like lions for freedom and show the world that our Hasmonean blood is still running. Soon I shall have my thirteenth birthday and we shall have a party.
How are you doing? How is Yisraelke [Israel is the name of his aunt's first child, born in 1936] and how is the uncle? I send my greeting of peace to all of you.
P.S. I am asking that when you write a letter to my father, write to me too.
[Note: Ephraim was the oldest of five children of Jankiel Gutsztejn from Radzilow. Jankiel was one of my grandfather's (Moshe Gutsztejn) brothers. The entire family was killed in the Holocaust: Jankiel (age 40, died 1940), wife Yocheved (died 1941), and children, Ephraim (age 14, died 1941), Menachem (age 12, died 1941), Yisrael (age 10, died 1941), and twins Yitzhak and Rywka (age 8, died 1941).]
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