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LUIGI NONO - IL CANTO SOSPESO

The Letters

Final letters written by European anti-fascist resistance fighters who had been condemned to death

Anton Popov | Andreas Likourinos | Eleftèris Kiossès | Konstantinos Sirbas | Chaim | Esther Srul | Irina Malozon | Eusebio Giambone | Ljubka Schewtzowa | Elli Vogt |

Anton Popov

aged 26, teacher and journalist, Bulgaria Teacher and Journalist. Poet and writer. His family victim of political persecution. Executed in the Sofia Central Prison on July 23rd, 1943.

Dear Mother, Dear Brother, Dear Sister,

I am dying for a world which glows with such light, such beauty, that my sacrifice is nothing.

Take comfort in the thought that millions have died for this world, in thousands of battles, on the barricades and in war. Take comfort in the thought that I am dying for justice. Take comfort in the thought that our ideas will triumph in the end. ...

Anton


Andreas Likourinos

Aged 14. Student from Athens, Greece.
Executed without trial on September 5th, 1943 in Kessariani. .

Papa!

They are taking me to Kessariani to be executed with seven other prisoners ... (Andreas gives their names). Please try to let their families know. Don't be sad. I am dying for freedom and for our country.

Andreas


Elefthèrios Kiossès

Aged 19, student, Greece.
Studied literature and philosophy. Taken hostage and killed on June 5th, 1942 in Kessariani. .

Dear Mother, Father and little sister,

They are going to shoot us today, 5 June 1942. We will be dying as men for our country. I'm not suffering and I don't want you to suffer either. I want no grief and tears. Be patient. I want you all to be happy, not sad because of me. My heartfelt greetings to everyone. WE ARE WORTHY OF OUR FOREFATHERS AND GREECE. I'm not trembling, I'm standing firm and upright as I write to you. I am breathing the sweet Hellenic air beneath Mount Hymettus for the last time. It's a wonderful morning. We have received Communion and sprinkled ourselves with eau de Cologne that one of us had in his pocket.

Farewell Greece, mother of heroes. Farewell my dear ones. Prove yourselves worthy of us.

Lefteris


Konstantinos Sirbas

Aged 22. Hairdresser, Greece.
Hanged before the eyes of his father on April 18th, 1943 in Trikala.

My dearest Father,

In two hours they are going to hang me in the square because I'm a patriot. Nothing more can be done about it. Don't be bitter, Father, this is the way it was destined to be. I'm not dying alone. Farewell. ... We will meet again in the world to come. I shall be waiting for you and the day you arrive will be a day of great festivity. Please collect my clothes from the police. My wallet was empty, but it's new. You have it, Father. ... Remember, your son is leaving with only one regret: that he won't live to hear the bells of freedom. ...

Kostas -
I was destined to die in April.


Chaim

Aged 14. Son of a farmer from Galicia. Perished together with thousands of young Jews and murdered in a camp in Pustkow. .

My dear parents;

If all the heavens were paper and all the seas of the world were ink, I could not describe to my suffering to you and all that I see around me.

The camp is in a clearing. They drive us to work in the forest at daybreak. My feet are bleeding because they took my shoes away. We work all through the day with almost nothing to eat and at night we sleep on the bare floor (they took our coats away too).

Every night drunken soldiers come and beat us with wooden clubs and my body is black with scabs and bruises. It looks like a piece of charred wood. Sometimes they throw us a few raw carrots or a turnip and it's terrible: everyone starts fighting to try and get just the tiniest piece or one of the leaves. The day before yesterday two boys escaped so they lined us up and shot every fifth person in the row. I wasn't the fifth but I know I won't get out of here alive.

I bid farewell to you all, dear Mama, dear Papa, dear brothers and sisters, and I am crying ...


Eusebio Giambone

aged 40, Typesetter from Montferrato/Asti, Italy. Communist. Shot dead in Turin on April 5th, 1944. .

I know for certain that in a few hours I will no longer exist, but you can rest assured that I shall face the firing squad calm and composed, just as I am now, as I was during the two-day show trial, as I was when the sentence was announced, because I knew from the start of that so-called trial that it would end in a death sentence.

Are those who condemned us just as calm? I'm sure they're not! ...


Irina Malozon

USSR. Member of the Resistance Youth Organisation Komsomol. Executed by Germans.

Dear Uncle,

I have no fear of death. I'm only sorry to have lived such a short life and to have done so little for my country. ... Uncle, I've grown accustomed to prison now, I'm not alone, there are many of us. ... Uncle, that's why I'm not afraid of death. Tell mother not to cry. I wouldn't have lived with her for ever anyway. I had my own life to lead. Tell mother to hide the money or else the Germans will steal it. Farewell, your niece.


Ljuba Scevtsova,

USSR Member of the Resistance Youth Organisation Molodaia Gwardija Arrested by the SS, tortured and murdered in Krasnodon on February 7th, 1943.

Farewell mother, your daughter Lyubka is going now, down into the humid earth.


Esther Srul

Poland. Locked in a synagogue with hundreds of others. Driven out in groups and shot dead on September 15th, 1942 in Kowel, Wolhynien.

The doors are opening. There are our murderers. Dressed in black. They are wearing white gloves on their filthy hands. They are driving us out of the synagogue in pairs. Dear sisters and brothers, how hard it is to part for ever from this beautiful life. You who live on should never forget our innocent little Jewish street. Sisters and brothers, avenge us on our murderers.

Esther Srul
murdered on 15 September 1942


Elli Voigt

aged 32, woman worker, Germany. Involved with Labour Resistance. Beheaded on December 8th, 1944. .

My dear comrade,

I've been allowed to say goodbye to you, a chance that, sadly, most people aren't given. I know that if it were in your power, you would relieve me of the heaviest burden. But everyone must stand up and answer for their own actions. My love for you makes it easier than I had imagined. That I'll love you until I die is something I'm sure I don't have to tell you. Always be to the children what you were to me: a comrade. ... I have hope in life as I go to my death. I go believing in a better life for you all.


„The message in those letters from people condemned to death has carved itself into my heart, just as it was carved into the hearts of all those who understand these letters as testimonies of love, as conscious decisions and responsibility towards life, and as a model of sacrifice and resistance to Nazism, that monstrosity of irrationalism that tried to destroy reason.“

Luigi Nono

Published in: "Lettere di condannati a morte della resistenza Europea", Turin - Zürich 1955

Hypertext: ©L Michael Klockmann