Truth – Legends / Editor Yehuda Tobin

To the editorial board of Yalkut Moreshet periodical

December 23, 1995

Dear Yehuda,
It has been a number of years since I had the opportunity to see you, to talk to you or to write you a few lines. So first I will ask after your health.  At our age it is the main issue.  I hope to receive a satisfactory answer.  I myself have serious heart problems.  If I were younger (I am eighty-five), they would operate, but at my age I have to make do with drugs, and these do not improve my situation greatly: I stay at home, find it hard to move around, shortness of breath etc. Apart from my age, it must be taken into account that I tasted of Hitler and Stalin… and therefore I must not grumble. In Israel, I have managed to publish six books of prose in Yiddish and one in  Hebrew. I have edited an anthology of Yiddish literature in Israel (two volumes, 1200 large pages), and in addition I have edited some thirty books of poetry and prose in Yiddish.  I can be satisfied with my later years.  And I may manage to finish publishing another book of prose concerning my bitter experiences during the Holocaust, half of which is already in manuscript form…
Now to the matter at hand. In the latest issue of Moreshet (October 1995), an article by Rivka Krakinovski-Diskant was published, entitled “Distortion of the Facts," in which the writer blames Alex Faitelson, author of the book The Time of Storms and Fights, for distorting the truth. Faitelson sent material to the Moreshet editorial board supporting his version and received an answer from Yosef Rav saying that all the material could not be published, but that at the next meeting of the editorial board a discussion would be held on whether to publish one or two responses on this matter. If you still participate in editing the Moreshet pamphlets, I should like to plead to you the merits of Faitelson’s book, which is, in my opinion, one of the most important documents on that dreadful period. Today the book can serve as living testimony even against the deniers of the Holocaust, whose numbers are growing in the western world. And in this respect the author is doing the right thing in now having the book published in English. The author is one of those who fled the Ninth Fort, where he was forced to burn the corpses of the victims of the Nazis. Five of the escapees lived in Israel, now only three remain. Other than Faitelson, there is Deitch in Rehovot, and Vilentchuk in Beersheba, and they testify to the fact that Faitelson reveals the true story. This testimony, in writing, is included in the material sent to the editorial board. I hope that the board will decide to publish two of the responses it has, choosing the second as it sees fit.
I will end with warmest greetings to you and your family, and the hope that the coming year of 1996 will be a good one for you and for all Israel, in its homeland and throughout the world.
Meir Yellin

P.S. – Faitelson’s book The Time of Storms and Fights is in the library of your kibbutz and if you have not read it, I recommend it. You will find a lot of new information there on Kovno ghetto and the Jews of Lithuania, as well as on the Lithuanians and Germans during the Holocaust. MY