Dedication | Introduction | History | The Voices | The Correspondence | Conclusion

The Voices

The authors of the letters and postcards were:

Shep Zitler was a draftee in the Polish army. He was a prisoner of war in Germany for five years and seven months. During that time he received letters and packages from his family in Vilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania). Today is retired and lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and speaks to groups on the Holocaust.
Meier was Shep Zitler's beloved cousin. He worked in the dry goods business owned by Shep's father and mother. He was the bookkeeper and had a good education. Meier was designated by the family to be the principal letter writer to Shep.
Doba Zitler Lewin was Shep's youngest sister, younger than Shep by two years. She married Noah Lewin, a furrier, during the war. They had a son, Noetele (Nathan). Doba probably survived in Kailis, a labor camp, until just days before Vilna was liberated.
Micha Morgenstern was married to Sonia Zitler, Shep's sister older by twelve years. He was a respected teacher of Polish literature at the Epstein-Szpeizer Gymnasium. They had a daughter named Tzerna.
Rachel Zitler Eventov was Shep's third oldest sister, two years older than Shep. She moved to Palestine in 1936. Rachel had four children. Rachel died in 1966.
  Mrs. N. S. Cohen was Shep's aunt. She married Nathan Cohen, the brother of Shep's mother. Nathan Cohen was a wealthy real estate developer and owned a pawn shop in New Orleans.
  M. H. Polmer was Shep's cousin. She was the daughter of N.S. Cohen.
Others mentioned in the correspondence are:
Asher and Bela Zitler were Shep's father and mother. When Shep was a boy the family's dry goods business prospered. They lived in a luxurious apartment and had two maids. Harder times followed. The family moved to a suburb. However, they owned the apartment building they lived in. Bela went to heroic lengths to attempt to get Shep released.
Rivka was Shep's second oldest sister. She lived with her husband in Lida, a town nearby to Vilna.
Benjamin (nicknamed Nioma) was Shep's older brother by six years. He immigrated to Palestine in 1933 and became a member of the Labor party. He married Hannah and they had a son David, and two younger children. Benjamin and Hannah were killed in an auto accident in the mid 1980's.