‘Real words from a real human being who was murdered in the Holocaust’

Rebecca Balint: Friends, the news out of Charlottesville is truly horrifying. As many of you know, my dad's side of the family came to this country to escape this kind of ignorance and hatred. For weeks I have been searching in my attic for copies of letters that my grandfather, Leopold Bálint (Leo to his friends and family), sent to my grandmother, Elizabeth (Licy), when he was forced into the Jewish ghetto in Budapest, Hungary before he was deported to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

I'm posting one of his letters here in its entirety because white nationalism, the philosophy of white supremacy, and anti-Semitism all have deadly consequences.

We have seen this hateful rhetoric before. It must be absolutely and unequivocally condemned.

These are the real words from a real human being who was murdered in the Holocaust in the spring of 1945.

“November 19, 1944

“My dear Licy,

“Maybe we must part forever. I have always loved you very much. I know how much you have had to suffer because of me. But I am not blaming myself because my intentions were good and I could not foresee this. The mistakes that I have committed have been made also by other victims. You are young and beautiful and in the end you will not be completely without means, even though, sadly a hard time stands before you.

“My wish is this: Try to be happy again, and when you have found a man, don't torture yourself and him with comparisons. Everyone has his strengths and weaknesses. You will forget my weaknesses and then - with each new comparison - you unjustly hurt your new mate's feelings. Quickly forget the horror of these days, bring up the children to be the happy, free-spirited people that we both are.

“I am resolute and don't overly bemoan my fate. In my life I have experienced more than most people, and through you, my love, more beauty has come into my life than into the average life.

“Be brave, I know that you will be happy again. You should know this - this thought does not haunt me. On the contrary, this is my final hope in this life.

“I kiss you, Zsuzi, and Peterle.

“Your Leo.”

Note: He never saw his wife again. And she never remarried.

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