In 1933 approximately nine million Jews
lived in the countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during
the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed by
the SS Men. The
Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews.
1.5 million children
were murdered during World War 2. This figure includes more than 1.2
million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands
of handicapped children.
This is Rudolf Hoess' final letter to his five children:
my dear, good children!
has to leave you now. For you, poor ones, there remains only your dear,
good Mommy. May she remain with you for a long time yet. You do not
understand yet what your good Mommy really means to you, and what a
precious possession she is to you. The love and care of a mother is the
most beautiful and valuable thing that exists on this earth. I realized
this a long time ago, only when it was too late; and I have regretted it
all my life.
To you, my dear children, I address therefore my last
(beseeching) request: Never forget your dear good mother! She has
constantly taken care of you with such sacrificing love. How much of the
good things in life has she sacrificed for your sake. How she feared for
you when you were ill and how painfully and untiringly did she nurse all
of you. Only for your sake must she suffer now all of the bitter misery
Don't ever forget this throughout your whole life. Help her
now to carry her painful fate. Be loving and good to her. Help her as well
as you can with your limited strength. In this manner pay her part of the
thanks for the love and care she gave you during the days and nights.
Klaus, my dear boy! You are the oldest. You are now
going out into the world. You have to now make your own way through life.
You have good aptitudes. Use them! Keep your good heart. Become a person
who lets himself be guided primarily by warmth and humanity. Learn to
think and to judge for yourself, responsibly. Don't accept everything
without criticism and as absolutely true. Learn from life.
mistake of my life was that I believed everything faithfully which came
from the top, and I didn't dare to have the least bit of doubt about the
truth of that which was presented to me. Walk through life with your eyes
open. Don't become one-sided; examine the pros and cons in all matters. In
all your undertakings, don't just let your mind speak, but listen above
all to the voice in your heart.
Much, my dear boy, will not be understood
by you as yet. But always remember my last advice. I wish you, my dear
Klaus, all the luck in your life. Become a competent, straightforward
person who has his heart in the right place.
Kindi and Püppi, you my big girls!
You are yet too young to learn the extent
of the hard fate dished out to us. But you especially, my dear good girls, are
specially obligated to stand at your poor unfortunate mother's side and with love
assist her in every way you can. Surround her with all your childlike love
from your heart and show her how much you love her ...
As fundamentally different as you two are in your character, you both ...
have, however, soft and feeling hearts. Retain these throughout your later
life. This is the most important thing. Only later will you understand
that and will you remember my last words.
My Burling, you dear little guy!
Hang on to your happy child
disposition. The cruel life will tear you, my dear boy, soon enough away
from your child's world. I was happy to hear from your dear mother that
you are progressing so well in school. Your dear father is unable to tell
you anything more. You poor little guy have now only your dear good Mommy left
who will care for you. Listen to her with love and kindness and so remain
'Daddy's dear Burling
My dear Annemäusl
How little was I
permitted to experience your dear little personality. Your dear good Mommy will
have to take you, my dear Mäusl, for us into her arms and tell you of your daddy, and how very
much he loved you. May you be for a long time Mommy's little ray of sun
and continue to give her much joy. May you, with your sunny ways, help
your poor dear Mommy through all the dreary hours.
Once more from my
heart I ask you all, my dear good children, take to heart my last words.
Think of them again and again.
Keep in loving memory, Your Dad."