Coffee House

‘Let everyone live happily…’

27 January 2012

1:32 PM

27 January 2012

1:32 PM

Created to remember one of the darkest chapters in mankind’s history, Holocaust Day is
for many people an occasion for unadulterated discomfort. Most of my family perished in the Holocaust and those who survived either hid in occupied Poland, pretending to be Catholics, fled to
Uzbekistan in the then-USSR or, like Marcel Rayman, fought the Nazis. Today I re-read a letter Marcel sent to his family the night before he was executed by the Nazis for trying to kill the German
commander of Paris:

Little mother,

When you read this letter, I’m sure it will cause you extreme pain, but I will have been dead for a while, and you’ll be consoled by my brother who will live happily with you and give you all
the joy I would have liked to give you.

Forgive me for not writing at greater length, but we are all so joyful that that it’s impossible to think of the pain you will feel. I can only say one thing, and that’s that I love
you more than anything in the world, and I would have liked to live for your sake alone. I love you, I kiss you, but words can’t describe what I feel.

Your Marcel who adores you and who’ll think of you up to the last minute. I adore you, and long live life.

My dear Simon. I’m counting on you to do all I can’t do myself. I kiss you, I adore you, I’m content, live happily and make Mama happy the way I would have had I lived. Live the beautiful
and joyful life that you will all have. Tell all my friends and comrades that I love them all. Don’t pay any attention if my letter is crazy, but I can’t remain serious. I love
everyone and long live life. Let everyone live happily.


Maman and Simon I love you and would love to see you again.’

Chana Rayman never received the letter. She was killed at Birkenau. But Simon, Marcel’s brother, did survive the Holocaust and went on to live a long life, helping France honour
his brother’s sacrifice. Today is Marcel’s day, it is Chana’s day — and it is Simon’s day.

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Show comments
  • JAb

    It is well worth Googling Marcel Rayman. He was a very active and prominent resistance fighter who also killed Julius Ritter (head of the forced labour programme) as part of an assassination team. His character has featured in a film, The Army of Crime.
    He was shot on the same day as 21 other members of his organization and effectively died a soldier’s death. Which is not to undermine at all the horror of the holocaust – which was presumably his primary motivation for taking the fight to the enemy, and good on him.
    I’m surprised the Germans let them eat Red Cross Parcels the night before the execution (as he says in the other letter he sent to his cousins).

    Is he a relation of Korski’s? He implies it but it is not clear.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Scale is all, Victor my lad. By calling everything a war crime or a crime against humanity the words are devalued. By calling Tony Blair a perpetrator of crimes against humanity, what words are left for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, those chaps in North Korea?

  • Kennybhoy

    Austin Barry on January 27th, 2012 2:29pm

    Give it time…

  • victor jara 67

    Vietnam,Lebanon, Fallujah all western war crimes albeit not on the same scale as the holocaust. The Western powers seem to think that if they don’t intend to kill civillians its kind of alright.
    Save all the rightous indignation as my comments were primarily aimed at Augustus and Ed P for their politizing the holocuast with their references to Israel as a victim.

  • salieri

    Victor Jara “67” (significance?):

    Shame on you. This WAS about DK’s family, and no more. Many of us (I include myself)have had a go at his other posts but this was a short, entirely personal and moving reminder of the light thrown by a tiny candle in the darkness of inhumanity – visible it seems to those nearest but not to grandstanding posers like you who don’t ‘get’ compassion because it gets in the way of their cold-blooded political agenda.

    As for ‘papering over crimes’, you sound both brainwashed and infantile: when did the US, the UK or indeed Israel – above all Israel – ever set out to exterminate clinically those they disagreed with?


  • porkbelly

    @victorjara – have the good grace to stfu.

  • Samuel

    Dear Spectator Editors,

    I shall be visiting the Auschwitz camp next month as a representative of my college. If you like I could write back with my experience


  • Austin Barry

    Victor jara 67

    Your views appear to be an excellent parody of the Dave Spart parody. I bet you even wear a Peruvian woolly hat.

  • Maggie

    I feel the same way about your article as Simon Scharma feels about Downton Abbey.

  • victor jara 67

    Its not about Korski’s family. He is using the holocaust like most of the Western political elite to paper over the crimes since the 2nd world war of the US and its client states like Israel and the UK

  • and I’ll go to bed at noon

    How depressing that this post has already brought both the Jew-baiters and the Islam-baiters out of the woodwork. We evidently haven’t learned our lesson.

  • Shazza

    Well said Fergus Pickering! I salute you!

  • Fergus Pickering

    Well of course it’s selective, jara you fool. Do you feel grief for all the world? No of course you don’t. You feel it most for your family, then your friends and outwards, ever fainter as they are farther away. The Palestinians may be suffering injustice, though I would hve thought the greatest injustice many of them (women) suffer is the horrible religion they follow. The jews can’t hold a candle to Allah when it comes to making lives miserable. They don’t chop off hands, stone women to death, put homosexuals to the fire, hurl acid at their sisters et bloody cetera. Now crawl back under your stone, feller. You should be ashamed of yourself, but I am sure you are not. Mr Korski, my thoughts are with you.

  • victor jara 67

    So Ed P and Augustus play the holocaust card to invert the victim/perpetrator dynamic in the ME conflict. A well worn and trusty canard to justify Israeli brutality from Shamir saying it is either this or treblinka to justify the bloody invasion of Lebanon to Netanyahu likening Ahmadinajad to Hitler to justify the next war.

    I can’t wait for Korski piece on nakba commeration day or his his view on sufering,oppresion and tyranny selective?

  • Slim Jim

    What a wonderful, moving letter this is from a very brave young man. The youth of today would do well to look at his story for inspiration. May God bless him and keep him safe.

  • Austin Barry

    It’s worth remembering that when the Germans shot him Marcel Rayman was just 20 years of age.

  • Jon stack

    It is deeply moving. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Austin Barry

    You really do get the impression these dark days that if a Question Time panellist asserted that Hitler was right and that his defeat caused untold suffering for the Palestinians, there would be an outburst of frenzied applause from the audience.

  • Augustus

    “Let everyone live happily.” Yes, wise words. But will Western Democracies take any heed? The Jewish wheel of destruction has been re-invented yet again due to the platonic love for the poor Palestinians? This sinister love has brought forth whole multitudes of Jew haters with only one goal; the destruction of the ultimate Jew: The State of Israel. And the ‘civilized’ West need do nothing but keep the wheel turning and just look on.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    A very precious letter Mr K.

    Keep it safe.

  • Ed P

    And let all those followers of the religion of “peace”, presently emitting their vile rhetoric of hatred against Jews & Israel remember this.

  • Bandmomma

    We all honour their brave sacrifice and we should never let anyone fail to remember.