Woman Discovers a 75-Year-Old Letter Sent From Berlin During the Holocaust at a New York Flea Market

The letter in question was sent on July 18, 1945, by a woman named Ilse Loewenberg

Chelsey Brown loves thrift shopping. Especially to find those hidden gems of historical significance and return them to family descendants.

Recently, she discovered and returned a long-lost precious heirloom:  a 75-year-old letter sent from Berlin, Germany, during the Holocaust.

The letter was sent on July 18, 1945, by a woman named Ilse Loewenberg, who fought for her survival. Ilse jumped out of a moving train headed to Auschwitz and escaped to Berlin for nine months before being recaptured and taken to prison.

Her entire family died except for her sister Carla, to whom Ilse wrote the letter.

In it, she said, "Through the kindness of our liberators, I am able to give you a sign of life from me after so many years…No one is alive anymore. My pain is unspeakably big. My husband, whom I married 3.5 years ago, was also taken from me! … When there will be a regular mail connection, I will tell you everything in detail." 

After Chelsey found the letter, she used MyHeritage to help track down Carla's family and returned the letter to a relative named Jill.

It turns out that after the war, both sisters moved to New York and stayed close for decades.

After Jill received the letter from Chelsey, she was extremely thankful for what Chelsey did for her and her family. 

"My whole family is truly in awe of all you have done for us," she said. "Almost everyone's first reaction of 'Is this a scam?' quickly transformed into bewilderment at your selfless dedication to reuniting heirlooms with families."

"We all loved our Great-Aunt Ilse and are thrilled beyond words to read her thoughts in her own handwriting after she emerged from the depths of the European inferno. May God bless your noble work, and may you receive many blessings in return for all you do for families like mine."

Ilse died on September 11, 2001. Her death was unrelated to the terror attacks, but close friends believe it was because she couldn't handle any more tragedy.

Her legacy lives on in this letter, now back in the possession of her family. 

Related Stories