Fallen Israeli soldier’s letter to parents from Auschwitz death train

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkott, and Leah and Simcha Godin, parents of fallen soldier Hadar Goldin, participating in the March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Poland, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Memorial Day, on April 24, 2017. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

“I am walking in the path they showed me, and I will grow from their ashes.”

An Israeli soldier who was killed in action in summer 2014 fighting Hamas during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, had written a moving letter to his parents during a school trip to Auschwitz Birkenau in Poland.

During the International March of the Living ceremony this week in Auschwitz, the parents of Lt. Hadar Goldin, Simcha and Leah, will read that letter that he had written to them while sitting on a Nazi death train that had once been used for transporting Jews to the infamous concentration camp, where four gas chambers had the capacity to murder 6,000 innocent, mostly Jewish, victims daily.

The reading of the letter at this time is poignant, especially as the country moves from mourning the Holocaust last week to fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, which begins Sunday night at sunset. The terror group Hamas, responsible for Goldin’s death, has stated it has no genuine interest in peaceful co-existence with Israel, but seeks the annihilation of the Jewish state and her people. Last month novelist Jack Engelhard wrote an article published by Arutz Sheva entitled “Two-state solution equals final solution.” The same statement has been made by Christian commentators such as Arab Christian Middle East expert Pastor J.D. Farage and rabbis such as Dov Fischer.

Goldin’s body, together with that of Sgt. Oron Shaul, are believed to still be held by Hamas, although there is some small hope that Shaul remains alive. Both sets of parents have worked tirelessly for the recovery of their sons’ bodies.

The letter was also read aloud by Education Minister Naftali Bennett on a video posted on his Facebook page. The minister asked teachers to read it to their classes in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The text of the letter is as follows:

“Dear Mom and Dad,

I am sitting in a train to Poland, in the corner. I don’t know how many other children, similar to me and different from me, sat here – and they were all Jews. They were torn from their homes, from their families, from their parents and children. They didn’t know where they were being sent, or where they were going. But I want to tell you that because of you, I know where I am going.

I am going to Israel. To my country and to your country. And I understand, because of you, what my Israel gives me. But most of all, I understand what I need to give of myself, to my country. When I look into myself, I know I have the strength to give above and beyond what is required. Whether it means representing my country, our country, abroad, in Chesterton and Cambridge, or at school and in our community.

[I need to be] straight and smart, and if there are no other men – to be a man! And to be a person, like you always say. With my friends, in school, to succeed and be the best I can be. To represent and protect my country with weapons in the IDF, and before and after army, to use weapons of a different sort. And to always use the tools you have given me.

Mom and Dad, I want to thank you.

Dad, thank you for building and helping me build myself. Thank you for the unending supervision, guidance, and lessons. Mom! Thank you for helping me find what I lost – myself, every time. You helped me find myself, you helped lift me up and helped me stand, so I wouldn’t fall. Thank you for always worrying, supporting, and praying for me. Thank you for the unending lessons I am always learning from both of you.

Everything I see in Poland brings me back to you, to my grandmothers, to Tzur [Hadar’s twin – ed.] and Ayelet and Hemi, and the thought that Tzur and I, and all of us, are the walking victory of the Jewish nation. We have an enormous task, and I am willing to take it on myself. And this is probably the reason that from the moment I was born, you placed this mission on my shoulders. It is in your merit.

I am going to get off the train now, like so many other Jews before me. They walked their last journey, and died sanctifying G-d’s name, or survived, sanctifying life. I am walking in the path they showed me, and I will grow from their ashes.

I wanted to tell you that I love you, with all my heart. Maybe I don’t always say it, but my heart always says it. I hope my actions will show you how much I love you, during all the times I don’t say it [with words].

I love you always.


“After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.”
Isaiah 53:11