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The Burned Letter by Helene Ritchie – UK publication

July 18, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

the burned letter helene ritchie

The Burned Letter is a powerful and extremely moving account of one woman on a journey of discovery that also brings to life her mother’s story and many other family members.

Written by New Zealand former politician Helene Ritchie – Wellington’s longest serving City Councillor of over 30 years – this is a loving tribute to those who perished, written to honour them. It’s a testimony that has truth, justice and hope at its heart that this should never happen again. In part of her dedication, Helene says the book is “for all who carry on the fight against racism, antisemitism, and for social and environmental justice.”

About the memoir:

Helene Ritchie’s mother, Lidi, fled from Hitler and the Nazis as a teenager, eventually travelling to New Zealand as a Jewish refugee. Lidi had left behind most people she loved and she had to start over again in life as an ‘enemy alien’ in a country far removed from life as she once knew it.

In 1945, a few months after the liberation of Auschwitz, Lidi burned a letter she had received that had information about what had happened to many of her loved ones. She burned the letter out of hope that her survivor guilt would disappear with the ashes, but that wasn’t to be, and she regretted burning the letter until her death at age 92.

This burned letter is at the heart of this extraordinary memoir by Helene Ritchie, who travelled the world for 50 years searching for clues to her perished family – her grandparents and other family members who had perished in the Holocaust. Helene travels to Poland and Czechoslovakia and she learns of concentration camps, ghettos, death marches, murders, suicides, and tragic love affairs. Helene’s dedication and persistence in searching for the truth is admirable and inspirational.


July 18, 2023
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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