Deported unknown destination

                     Re: Frieda Berger -- F870

 

        We have very tragic news for you -- that Frieda Berger has "DEPARTED UNKNOWN DESTINATION."

So began the letter sent to my grandparents in October of 1942, concerning my grandmother's sister Frieda.

 

My father had shown me the letter and given me a copy of it many years before I began researching the grey folder.

 

Every time I read the letter, it gave me chills.  I imagined what it was like for my grandparents and my father to read the letter. What did they know then about the "unknown destination"? Surely, after reading "very tragic news" twice in the letter, they could have harbored few hopes.

 

After Frieda was deported to Gurs, my father had a hearing with the State Department to try to get her a U.S. visa.

"But the State Department officials said that Mrs. Berger was apparently a Communist, because the Germans had taken her to Gurs," my father told me. "Whatever I said made no impression, and so the Quaker organization shared with us about her death in Auschwitz. Whenever I say Kaddish I think of her often and pray to God to give her freedom."