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Andrew Engel - Postcards from the Camps

When family members were shipped to concentration camps by the Nazis, many were never heard from again. But communications were possible in some cases, as we see in a series of postcards sent between then 27-year-old
Andrew Engel who was in a labor camp; his parents, siblings, and others who bravely helped the family. Engel, a
cousin of WCT member Karen Berlowitz, saved some of these postcards, which are now preserved by Yad Vashem,
the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem. These cards were translated into English by Engel over 40 years ago. These memories, and two others, stem from the WCT’s Holocaust Memory Project; more content can be found at
wct.org/holocaust.

 


 

May 9, 1944

Our Dear Good Child,

It has been a long time now that we have not received a card from you. I hope you are in good health my dear son. Thank God we are in good health here at home.

I would like to see you so much my dear child, Tibi [Andrew’s brother] writes more often. He says he is in good health—thank God. Write my dear Bandi [the nickname for Andrew, nee Endre], at least I can see your handwriting. The good Lord will protect you in the future and will give you strength and health.

Your loving Mother

[This postcard was written two days before Engel’s parents were moved from their Hungarian farm to Nyiregyhaza, the county seat.]


 

May 15, 1944

Today, I talked to your father and mother, both are in good health. Today they took them to Nyirjes Concentration Camp.

At any rate, from time-to-time write to me and when the opportunity arises I will let your parents know about you, and also if I hear from them I will inform you.

I have yours and your brother’s papers, high school and college diplomas. Wishing you all the best.

Greetings, Gergely

[Istvan Gergely was a righteous Gentile who lived in the short-lived ghetto in Nyiregyhaza.]


 

May 21, 1944

My Dear Bandi,

It has been a long time since you have written about yourself. I hope my dear Bandi you are in good health.

I have to inform you, with my sorrow that the new address of our home is: Rabbi Jungreisz Mezokovesd [relative of Ella’s husband]. Please write to this address. Erno is coming with us, he was called to service [another labor camp] again. The good Lord will be with us and I ask Him to give us strength, and health for all of us. I am sorry to say it has been a week now since we have heard anything from our mother. I am very worried about them God be with you my dear Bandi. Stay in good health. Lots of kisses.

Your sister

Ellus [Ella] and Annika [Ella’s 5-year-old daughter]
 


 

May 28, 1944

My Dear Child,

We are still here in Nyirjes. Lots of kisses.

Father and Mother

[This was the next to last card Engel received from his parents]
 


 

June 2, 1944

My Dear Bandi,

Received our card. I cannot express my joy, that at least you are all right. About our dear beloved parents — I wrote lately — now I repeat again. Father’s card dated May 28, I received today. Thank God they are all right, but they do not know how long they will let them stay in this concentration camp. Vera [a second cousin] wrote that she hopes and would like to have their sickness to be cured at her place. On May 28, father got a permit to go to Nyirgyhaza for a few hours….

Dear Bandi, the thing which keeps me alive is that you and I, with our love toward our dear parents will make us all survive these times….

Many kisses, your brother Tibi

[Vera’s comment means she hopes that the parents would be able to come to her residence in Budapest.]


 

June 20, 1944

My Dear Bandi,

It is quite a long time now since I have received any news from you. Sorry to say there is no news coming from our dear parents. Last time they said they might well have to leave the Nyirjes Concentration Camp too.

I pray to God to give them strength enough, and to keep them in good health.

I hope under the circumstances, you are all right. I wish you all the best for the future and many kisses from your loving brother.

[When this card was written, only Tibor and Andrew remained alive of the Engel family. Andrew spent the next seven months struggling to survive in Poland and Russia before eventually relocating to the U.S.]


 

Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyar 5784