Paul Celan. Letter to Erich Eingorn

Kyiv, July 1st, 1944

Dear Erich,

I’ve come to Kyiv for two days (on official business) and I’m glad of the chance to write you a letter that will reach you quickly.

Your parents are well, Erich, I talked with them before I came here. That’s saying a lot, Erich, you can’t imagine how much.

My parents were shot by the Germans. In Krasnopolka on the Buh River.

Erich, oh Erich.

Dear Erich, where is Tanya Adler now?

I know only about […] that she is alive, but where is she? Please write to her, Erich, and tell that I am alive, and that I am asking her to write to me. To my old address. There’s much to tell. You’ve seen so much. I’ve experienced only humiliations and emptiness, endless emptiness. Maybe you can come home. Konrad Deglidisch has returned.

Frau Alper, our beloved frau Alper has died… Gerta is in Czernowitz now.

Erich, please write to Tanya, or maybe even better telegraph her.

Where is Erika, her mother knows nothing about her.

I embrace you, Erich,

Your old

Paul

Translated Dmytro Ostroushko

In: Paul Celan – Erich Einhorn. Einhorn: du weißt um die Steine… Briefwechsel. Herausgegeben und kommentiert von Marina Dmitrieva-Einhorn. Berlin: Friedenauer Presse 1999, S. 3.

Notes:

Erich Einhorn’s parents, Rosa and Moses Einhorn, managed to avoid deportation. They lived in Chernivtsi until Moses Einhorn’s death in 1960, and then, Rosa Einhorn moved to join her son in Moscow. She died in 1971.

Tanya Adler (Steinberg) was Celan’s close friend. During the war, she left to Russia, got married there, and then, returned to Chernivtsi with her son, and in the 1970s, she emigrated to Israel. She died in 1994.

Erich Einhorn, along with students of the Chernivtsi University, was evacuated in 1941 first to Stavropol, and then to Osh in Kirgizia. In May 1944, he came to Rostov-on-Don and entered the History Faculty of the Rostov University. Most probably, he received this letter there. In September 1944, he was enlisted to the army and served as a military interpreter: from July 1945 to March 1946 in Germany, and from March 1946 to January 1949 in Austria.

Konrad Deglidisch was Paul Celan’s friend. The same as Erich Einhorn, he was among the many students of the Chernivtsi University evacuated to Russia, but already in the summer of 1944, he returned to Chernivtsi, got married with Gerta Alper and emigrated with her to the USA.

A young interest group Paul Antschel (Celan) and Erich Einhorn were part of gathered in the house of frau Alper, her two sons and daughter Gerta in 1938-1939. When the Nazi came, Gerta and her parents were deported to Transnistria where frau Alper died from typhus.

Erika Bertschneider, Erich Einhorn’s friend, died during the war.

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