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Number 5(below) :   an original letter in Korean from one brother in North Korea and the translated letter in English



To my dearest big brother (Won Hee Lee),

I am sending you my deepest bow and respect from the other side of the earth.  When I heard you were alive, I cried.  A swirl of emotion, tears, and fast heartbeats overcame me, and it is hard even now to calm down to write this letter.


They say time flies, and 10 years is long enough to reshape a river and a mountain.  But for the last 46 years, I didn’t know whether you were alive or not.  The tragic boat carrying the fat of my family was swept away from me by gigantic muddy waves, and I was left all alone on a foreign soil, which is my home now.  It happened a long time ago, but you didn’t forget about me.  There are no words to describe how much I am moved and how grateful I am.


I have so many sweet memories about you.  When I was small and got into all kinds of mischief, you never hit me. You always took care of me with smiles and love. When you were attending Tong Kwang High School in Bong Chun (Manchuria), it was so exciting to receive your telegram saying that the school was over, and you were coming home for a vacation.  I remember going to the Don Hwa train station with my other brothers and Sister Kooya, who was holding my hands.  You always brought me a gift.  That baby brother of yours, Oong Hee, is now 56 years old.  *Some paragraphs are omitted from the translation.


Sun Hyup (your son) said that you had gone to Jang Back Hyun through Beijing and through

Don Hwa to look for Father. I can picture you traveling to the mountain village looking for your own blood.  That’s you I remember. *Some paragraphs are skipped in the translation.


I was merely 4 or 5 years old when our home land was tormented and brutalized by Japanese colonialzation, and many people came to Manhuria to survive and wondered around without place to belong to.  But there was the revolutionist and guerrilla fighter Kim Il Sung to lead them and fight against Japanese troops, and there were Father Lee Sang Moon and mother at Dapuchahu, Don Hwa in Jin Lin Province to help the Great leader.  Because of that we have been living a good life here.


In 1945 shortly after you left (Manchuria), the boarder (between China and North Korea) was closed and we became trapped in Manchuria.  And Father’s deep worrisome began.  He didn’t know whether you had enough food to eat, and etc.


(In the end of 1940’s, there were riots in the Manchuria area.  The Chinese government gave troops to Father and asked him to put down the riots.)  Father brought a victory of Sah Pyung Battle to the Chinese government.  The government gave Father award and granted Father’s wish to move to North Korea in August 30, 1949, and we moved to North Korea.  In 1950, we came as far as Won San in Kang Won Province, but in June the Chosun War broke out, and we stayed in a mountain.  But in January 1951, I joined the Chinese army as a translator and fought in the front line.  Father came looking for me to Zihari, Pan Kyo Goon in Kang Won Province, which is 190 lee from Kae Sung.  When the 3 year-war was over, we had nothing but a hip of ashes around us. 


From that point, Father became a model citizen.  He devoted his life to his country and studies and worked 3 times harder than anyone else.  He believed that the only way he could reunite with his family was if our country was reunited.  *Some details are omitted from the translation. One of the many things he did was promoting the government’s sport policy.  He ran marathons from the age of 56 to 86.  He participated in the national marathons, and he finished in the first group of runners.  He received numerous awards including the Great Kim Il Sung Award and the highest recognition in the country. 


He was an inspirational speaker and gave speeches in small towns as well as big cities. He was known a Chulma Halabuzy (Chulima is a legendary horse running long distances, and Halabuzy means Grandpa), and everyone in the country knew him.  They made a move about him and entitled the movie The Happy Youth.  But at the Great Leader Kim Il Sung’s request, the title was changed to The 60 Year-Old-Youth.  I believe that he was trying to reach you (in South Korea) through newspapers and magazines.


We could have lived in Pyoung Yang.  But Father wanted to live in a farm village until he was reunited with his children.  Therefore, the Great Leader Kim Il sung had a modern single house built for us, and we have been living comfortably in that house.  *Some paragraphs are omitted from the translation.


Father passed away on March 22, 1974.  On his death bed, he told me that some day one of my siblings would come to find me.  But I never expected that my nephew Sun Hyup would come (from South Korea) to fine me.  Again, I thank the Great Leader and the Party for arranging our meeting.   Father is buried on a hill facing the south, his home, as he wished, and it’s not very far from us.  Please come to see us and visit the grave soon.  I miss you and my sisters.  *Some paragraphs are omitted from translation.  Please be well and healthy until our country is reunited, and we are reunited.  Best Regards. Oong