Sunday 14 January 2024


16.2. 39

My dear Gretel, now that I have gotten the airmail letter for Lilly’s birthday ready for the mail, it’s your turn, my dear, and first let me confirm receipt of your dear lines of Sunday. But, please, have your secretaries put a new colour ribbon into your typewriter, I have to pour over [your letter] with my weak eyes until I can decipher everything. I am glad that Ernst [Gretel’s youngest son] is doing relatively well. Who knows what attending a technical school for a while will be good for (even if it’s [not good] for your wallet)? Maybe that will advance [his career] and may be closer to his own inclinations.  Chi lo sa? [Who knows?] – I too am always busy and have paperwork and I do a lot myself that would really be Dr. Kr[aus]’ [former mayor of Mainz, managing some of Emma’s affairs] business, for example the tax on assets yesterday [A decree issued in the spring of 1938 forced Jews to declare assets over 5,000 Marks and pay 20% taxes on them in 4 instalments]. I had all sorts of correspondence with the Mitteld[eutsche] Kreditbank in Frankfurt with respect to the blocked account of Lilly [Emma’s oldest daughter, now living in Buenos Aires], which is now a great blessing for me. I didn’t want to delay the matter, which would have happened with Dr. K. because these people have a crazy workload, especially this month, and so I managed the obtain confirmation from the bank in Frankfurt almost 8 days ago that they have sent my instalment to the Department of Finance. And I am all the more pleased because Dr. Kr[aus] charged me 25 Marks for his work on the first instalment, and this time I saved that amount. In addition I have a lot of preliminary work to do with the tax declaration and am now waiting for Dir[ector] Dietz, who was unfortunately sick at the end of last month. But he promised me this morning on the phone that he would come tomorrow morning because I had received from the district court a letter concerning the instalments, which must be answered. And so almost every day brings something new, and most of the time nothing useful. In the afternoon I almost always have visitors, such as an improvised tea with Mrs. Drexelius, who succeeded Miss Stockmann on the 4th [floor], and in addition Bab. and H.D. [?]. then also Georgi and Mimi [Emma’s sister Wilhelmine Bing], and with those two I played Rommé, as usual, until about 7.30. It is touching how Bab. and her husband are looking after me, [bringing me] things that can’t be obtained easily here or can’t be obtained at all, and [their care] makes me very glad. Do send greetings to B. occasionally [in your letter], she has of course asked me to greet you many times, and she often pours her heart out to me because she and her husband are forced to stay with relatives until they get lucky and can go to their children, first to Fritz in Lfr [?] And then to Anny, who lives near Rolf. This afternoon I expect Paul M[eyer] [a relative, Gustel Gutmann’s brother]  because I have a letter for him from Lilly [Emma’s oldest daughter], which she sent to my address because she does not know his new address and thinks Gustel has already departed, but Gustel has still problems with the clearance connected with the house, the mortgage, and similar matters [Gustel eventually fled to Riga, where she was murdered]. C’est toujours la même chose [It’s always the same thing]. Lieschen’s family (6 persons) intend to sail to Canada on the 24th of this month. An old friend of the late Mr. R. has made it possible for them all to come. I hope Karl will soon find suitable work; he is intelligent after all, and the boys (the oldest is 18 years old) can also do something. Lieschen thinks only of her obligation to watch out and take care of them all, and she is very courageous, considering the continual pain in her feet. Anna G. [Gustel’s daughter[ who visited me the day before yesterday, has a chance to go to Warrington near Manchester as a nurse – they are short of nurses in England, they say. And now don’t be alarmed: Heddel [Emma’s niece, daughter of August Saarbach and Johanna Gutmann] has given up her job because (she says) she cannot tolerate the sea climate, but also (as Anna said) because she had such a terribly small room in which one couldn’t see anything without light, even during the day. And now she has accepted a job with a lady who lives alone with her 18-year-old son. She is half an hour from London, so one fine day she is likely to appear at your place, although she does not have your address from me. But I bet she’ll find it out! Aenny [?], who has been for some months in Switzerland – in Ascona, and lately in Locarno – is not permitted to stay any longer. She too wants to go to England, probably with the help of Heddel, and (don’t laugh!) she wants to take a position as maid. You will laugh even harder when you hear that Aenny [?] (according to a report from Willy [Emma’s nephew, son of Jenny Saarbach] to his mother) earned some 70 Marks/month with short stories and the like, which allowed her to do quite well there.

Yesterday evening Lotte arrived with Juliane. They had several wardrobes and cabinets full of stuff at Lisbeth’s, which they wanted to pick up. Before she starts on her position as maid over there [in England], she will probably marry her friend, who is however a lawyer and is not likely to have many [job] opportunities. On Sunday morning I had a visit from Mrs. Wolf of Oberstein, who had already once asked her daughter in D. to convey greetings to me from…[name omitted], and I was very glad of her visit. She told me all sorts of interesting things. She had talked to you formerly, only on the telephone. I was in the middle of writing this morning, when my administrator came and stayed some two hours, as usual. First we dealt with the business of the savings account, about which I had just written a letter, and then with the tax declaration [of assets over 5000 Marks] – Mr. D[ietz] thought that could be done in a quarter hour. Hah! That declaration is so complicated this year, that no one can quite understand it and even he had to peruse each point [?] a long time. So now I have a lot of writing to do again before he comes back the day after tomorrow with the tax forms, which he unfortunately did not have with him. And tomorrow Adelheid [Emma’s maid] has to fetch a copy of the tax form from elsewhere, so I can copy it out, since he himself gives me only notes – I have to write everything myself. Today I will…[end of sentence missing]

Greetings to all

FOR MORE LETTERS SEE MY NEXT BLOGPOST. For the originals see LBI Archives AR 7167/MF 720.The translation is by Erika Rummel and Susi Lessing.

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