Letter from Camp Pasicevo/Altker

by Eva Zentner
Translation by niece Rose Vetter

 

 

March 16, 1947 

Dear brother, sister-in-law and children


Eva Zentner of Palanka, Batschka Yugoslavia & husband Jakob Pilger of Mutninikul Mari, Banat, about 1950, before they emigrated to the US.

I was overjoyed to receive the beautiful, much yearned-for news from brother Toni, the first letter I received I was so happy to learn that you are all alive and reunited I was very concerned about all of you Everybody around me has news of loved ones, except for me But our dear Lord has given you the gift of life

I have very sad news Our poor dear parents have both passed away But they are now safe from all the misery and don't have to suffer any longer Our father died on December 8, 1944, the ninth day after we were forced to leave our home Our dear mother died on May 13, 1946 She endured 18 more months, and it was her daily hope and prayer to return home and see all her children again Unfortunately her wish was not granted We can only thank God that...(the rest of the sentence was censored). After Father died I summoned up the courage to ask permission to bring Mother to the factory where I work; I also managed to bring Traudi Neni along, otherwise they would have been taken to Jarek to die of starvation along with thousands of people Father and Mother are buried next to each other I was able to get a good wooden box for Mother from the factory I have been working in the hemp factory since December 6, 1944 It's not a bad place, but we don't get a heller (penny) or a rag in return

Well, dear Christine and Rosi, how do you like living in the Reich Your wish has been fulfilled and I hope that you are doing well Please write to me and tell me what you are doing And you, dear sister-in-law, are you working? And dear Stefi, I hope you are working in your trade as a shoemaker I am very lonely, I am  alone and forsaken in the world and have shed many tears here I'm the only one in our large family who is alone, but I'm consoled by the fact that I was able to offer our  mother the last glass of water, that was my wish I often visit the grave

There used to be many people in the camp in Pasicevo, but now there are very few In the beginning there were 96 people, but now there are only 11 left The only Palankaers left are Lemal Tischler, his wife and her mother, Frau Jerkovsky The people are all being transported to Gakova Any one there who has money has a chance to escape to Austria If I knew that I had any luck I would try it myself Our sister Anna sent me documents for going to America, also for brother Jakob She wrote that once we are there she wants to bring the whole family over What a joy that would be if we could all be in America together I don't think I can get away from here because we are not free We are in a camp and we have no rights(The following sentence was censored)...we knew.   We didn't know what was going to happen to us And so we had to leave our dear home with empty hands We had to leave the house within ten minutes Our poor parents just trembled and cried, it was heartbreaking.   

What can we do when fate strikes us so hard Maybe someday a sunbeam will break through the clouds for us and lead on the way to freedom I have already spent three sad Christmases here in the camp I close my letter with many regards and a thousand kisses Please write to me also you Christina and Rosi.   Farewell until a joyful Wiedersehen Good night.....Eva 

Note:   This letter was sent to my family in Germany years after our flight from Neusatz, Batschka It was written by my aunt Eva Zentner of Batschka Palanka from the forced labour camp in Pasicevo/Altker Most of her letters were censored so badly by the Communists that they arrived as shreds of paper, making it virtually impossible to make sense of them This letter was the only one my parents kept.  It bears the stamp of the Ősterreichische Zensurstelle S.Z. (Austrian Censorship Office S.Z.)  Eva Zentner (Pilger) managed to escape to Austria in the summer of 1947 and eventually emigrated to Trenton, NJ.

[Published at www.dvhh.org, 4 Apr 2007]


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