Last Letters of The Manouchian Group February 21, 1944

Leon Goldberg

Source: David Diamant. Combattants, Héros & Martyrs de la Resistence, Editions Renouveau, Paris. 1984;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor.

Leon Goldberg, a 20-year old from Lodz, whose family had been swept up in the infamous round-up of Jews known as the Rafle de Vel d'Hiv, wrote to his parents and his fiancée.

Dear parents,

If you return (and I think you will), don’t cry for me. I fulfilled my duty in fighting as I could.

I would have liked to see you one last time and hold you in my arms, but that just isn’t possible. At least you have two more sons who will become men. I fought so that you, Henri, Max, would have a better life if you return, and also so that they not see again another war in twenty years. They are young; the future is theirs. I don’t know what else to write. There are so many things to say.

Dear parents, Henri, Max, dear brothers, I kiss you with all my soul.

Your son,

My dearest:

My last letter and my last remembrance for you; I'm going to go before the firing squad at 3:00. It’s 11:30. In the first place, I would like for you not to cry and that you be courageous, as I am myself, I'm not afraid to die. I even think that it’s a bit much. Quite a terrific birthday present, don’t you think? [Goldberg’s birthday was February 24.]

You know since Saturday , via the newspapers, what awaits me. Your picture is before me this morning, like always. I'm taking it with me on this long journey from which, I think, no one has ever returned. Console yourself quickly; we knew each other so little. I fulfilled my obligation before everyone, I regret nothing. All I would like is that from time to time all of my friends think of me.

Now, I kiss your parents, Fanny, yourself, my dearest, as well as all my friends. When my parents return you should return my affairs to them. Take care of all of this when everyone has returned.

They got a little carried away for my birthday present, don’t you think? I'm not writing anything very important, I don’t have anything important to write. It'd be better if we talked of our friends...

I don’t stop eating now. What would you like me to say, my dearest, we all have to die some day. I loved you very much, but it’s not because of that that you should forget that life continues.

Within a short while, I hope you'll have recovered, and that life will go on as before.

Farewell to you all, life will be better for you ; I kiss you all, your family and you, Ginette. I ask forgiveness of all the friends I may have forgotten. My Ginette, I leave with your name on my lips.

Vive la France.


My Ginette, a few words more. For a little while I had hope, but I know what I risked. We should regret nothing. Regrets serve no purpose. We could have been together. Be strong, you and your parents. I kiss you all one more time.

One last time, my thoughts go out to all of you, my friends, family, everyone I know. Farewell.

We have won the war.

Be strong.

Leon Goldberg