A small gallery on the bottom floor of the museum hosts an exhibition based on a collection of Holocaust-era letters and postcards from the Massuah archives. The letters have been translated into Hebrew from various languages.
This very intimate exhibition relates to the human and personal dimension of those trapped in the inferno. Only by such letters could the ghettoized Jews communicate with the outside world, and their contents reveal their writers’ states of mind and daily reality. By revealing these aspects, the exhibition demonstrates the sense of strangulation that beset those trapped in the ghettos, the limits imposed by German censorship in the occupied areas, additional limits dictated by the Jewish ghetto leadership, and the limits and constraints on writing that were imposed on those who were interned in camps. Above all, the exhibition shows how the human image was preserved within this hell.
These realities are illuminated in letters from a mother to her daughter, letters from youth-movement members to the free world with allusions describing their situation; and the anger, helplessness, nostalgia, and anguish expressed in letters from concentration camps. In all of them, the full human tragedy that unfolded in the Holocaust is revealed in the simple language of personal letters.
“The Addressee Has Left for an Unknown Destination” is the first exhibition that Massuah inaugurated at its renovated museum in April 1996. It is based on a rare collection that represents the life’s work of the first director of the Massuah archives, the late Naftali Zahar.
Ravensbrück, March 1945
My dearest child,
I read your letter with much joy. Unfortunately, I cannot answer all your questions….
I hope that we will again be together and catch up on all that we have missed. We will have a lot to tell each other. Are you attending school again? You ask me when I will come back. That’s something I don’t know. I hope that it will not be long from now.. It would be nice if Papa would then be with us. You must tell me how much you have grown, so that I can imagine what you look like.
I embrace you and send lots of kisses. You are probably much stronger than I . . .