Martin Becker Papers

A native of Poland, Martin Becker attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota during the period of the Nazi occupation of Poland. His mother was also in the United States, living in Long Island. The collection is comprised of correspondence from Mr. Becker's family in Poland, primarily from his father Abraham and two brothers, Tadek and Lolek, all three of whom perished during the Holocaust.

The postcard below was sent from the Warsaw ghetto. This and other postcards document the desperate situation of those left in Poland. They illustrate the difficulties of escape and the great impediments families faced in trying to rescue family members. This postcard is a heart-breaking plea for assistance in obtaining transit visas and papers, and demonstrates the writer's awareness of an uncertain future.

From: A. Beker, 11a Górczewska Street, Warsaw

To: M. Becker, c/o Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, USA

Warsaw, 18 January 1940 (mailed 17 January 1940)

letter back

My dear!

Just imagine -- we are presently living in Warsaw. Write [and send your letters] via the Red Cross to Edzia’s address:

M. Lipiński
11a Górczewska Street

Our situation is such that you have to send us right away, without any delay, the papers and boat passes. Otherwise we are simply destined for the worst [fate that is possible]. It is very easy to get papers and boat passes (this is what they told me in the U.S. Consulate) and many people left [Poland] that way, for example Mr. Orzechowski from Warsaw. Remember that this is our last [resort] and the only chance [to survive]. Contact our uncles right away, [to tell them that] they should do all that is possible to save our lives. They should not procrastinate about anything. Each day is [priceless]. Send the papers and boat passes for us to the American Consul in Warsaw, 29 Aleje Ujazdowskie. We are begging our uncle, simply falling on [our] knees, with tears in [our] eyes. The cost of all of this is very low. Where is Mom right now? Write to us about all of that via the Red Cross (this is the simplest [way]). Write a letter to [our] uncles right away about our case. We will not pull through [much longer] than spring.

Regards from all [of us] to all [of you], Tadek.

The Martin Becker papers were donated to the Holocaust Center by Mr. Becker, in memory of his mother, Zelda, "a devoted wife and a loving mother who grieved and suffered with the knowledge that her husband, Abraham, and two of their sons, Tadek and Lolek, perished in the gas chamber of the Nazi concentraton camp at Treblinka."

Translation of postcard courtesy of Ewa Basinska and Jeffrey Mifflin.

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