In vain? Their dream and their deaths forfeited? It cannot be like this!

In 1954, Thomas Mann wrote this statement in his preface to the book „Lettere di condannati a morte della resistenza europea“. Luigi Nono later made some of these letters the foundation of his composition „Il Canto Sospeso“.

Ten farewell letters

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 Popov
Aged 26, teacher and journalist, Bulgarian Teacher and Journalist. Poet and writer. Victim of political persecution. Executed in the Sofia central prison on July 23rd, 1943

Dear Mother, Father and little sister,

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.

Farewell Greece, mother of heroes.


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


They are taking me to Kessariani to be executed with seven other prisoners Ich bitte Dich, verständige ihre Familien. Please try to let their families know. Don't be sad. I am dying for freedom and for our country.


Andreas Likourinos
Aged 14, student, born in Kallithea/Athen. Executed without trial on September 5th, 1943 in Kessariani.

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. I shall be waiting for you and the day you arrive will be a day of great festivity.

Kostas - I was destined to die in April.

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

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 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, and I am crying ...


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

Farewell mother,

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

Ljubka Schewtzowa
 Russian member of the Resistance Youth Organisation Molodaia Gwardija Arrested by the SS, tortured and murdered in Krasnodon on February 7th, 1943.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, 

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. How hard it is to part forever 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, Polen
Poland. Locked in a synagogue with hundreds of others. Driven out in groups and shot dead on September 15th, 1942 in Kowel, Volhynia, 

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 to hide the money or else the Germans will steal it.

Farewell, Your niece Irina

Irina Malozon
Russia, member and courier of the Resistance Youth Organisation Komsomol. Executed by Germans.

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!



Eusebio Giambone
Aged 40, Typesetter from Montferrato/Asti, Italy. Communist. Shot dead in Turin on April 5th, 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. 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.


Elli Voigt
Aged 32, worker from Berlin, Germany. Involved with underground Labour Resistance. Beheaded on December 8th, 1944.  
Video Teaser

Of the Iffland ring, Oscar, stars and students

Whether Iffland ring bearer Bruno Ganz, Susanne Lothar, Gian Maria Volontè, Angelica Ippolito or Oscar winner Ben Kingsley. These and many other celebrities, theater and film stars, and European students put themselves at the service of the letter writers. No one should ever forget them. As a result, numerous language versions of the video were created to keep the letters alive around the world as much as possible.

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