Thursday 18 January 2024




Wednesday 1.3. 39

My dear Gretel, although I am rather tired after a bad night, I did finally get up for an hour before the meal at noon, after I had dozed on the chaise longue all morning – if only to work up a little appetite for the meal, to have a little conversation with you, and to answer your dear letter of Sunday. In the meantime, I was glad to have a postcard from Lieschen and find out that she spent an evening with you, and I was happy that you make exceptions [to your routine] and do occasionally spend an evening with others. It is not good at all to be always on your own. Lieselein wrote to Mimi [perhaps Wilhelmine Bing, Emma’s sister] that you plan to become independent soon. I suppose that refers only to your intention to rent a small apartment for yourself. Or do you have any other plans? I was glad that you spent an afternoon with Wolfgang [Gretel’s oldest son] and his family once again and I send my heartfelt thanks to him for his kind lines and for the prospect of hearing more of him soon. Yesterday, toward evening, I had a really pleasant surprise: Willichen [?][presumably Willy, Emma’s nephew] came here with his mother [Jenny Saarbach, Emma’s sister]. He arrived yesterday morning, just for the day, and left again yesterday evening, because he will show up on your side within the next few days – finally! It took especially long in his case. Mimi also came right away, and he gave her an apparently good tip for Leo, which goes via Berthe, to whom M[imi?] wanted to write yesterday already on Willy’s instruction.

This morning I did not get around to continue writing because first my tenant, or rather the tenant of Mrs. A [?] came downstairs and brought me a wonderful bouquet of lilacs, then came my administrator with whom I always need to discuss all sorts of things, and as is the case most of the time, it was 2 o’clock until I finally ate. In future I will have even more business with him, and you will as well, because we learned yesterday that from 1 April on the lawyers and trustees are no longer permitted to work for us, so that Dr. K[raus] [former mayor of Mainz, handling Emma’s affairs] will also be history by then. It would be disastrous if this happens before your tax affairs are in order, but Director Dietz believes that you will probably hand over the matter to him. The two gentlemen are well acquainted and on friendly terms with each other, and Mr. D[ietz] is also informed about all these matters through me and through K[raus] – have you heard anything yet about this? I am sorry to hear that Hannah [Gretel’s daughter] is in such pain, I hope she will soon be well again. I am glad that your lecture was a success – a ringing [a pun? The German “ringend” can also mean “clinking”, i.e. monetary] success, yes? As for your readiness to help me, my dear child, I am very grateful for your offer and that you and Lilly [Emma’s daughter, living in Buenos Aires] are willing to look after me here. I would be sorry, however, if that became necessary. So far I still manage quite well, and what is much more important, I think I will be able to pay the two payments [taxes on assets, to be paid in 4 instalments] in May and August without further help. There is a chance that I will be able to pay on 1 April the tax … by 1 February of this year, I will be paid a sum exactly equivalent to this instalment, and the second instalment in August is also taken care of, because I will still be paid 500 Marks out of Lilly’s locked account. In February the Department of Finance in Frankfurt paid the sum directly to the local Department of Finance, but in case I am no longer in a position to do the transaction, it would be a great comfort to know that that money will not be used for other purposes. Now, lets’ hope that I am still around to see 1 April, or the money is lost to us. If I tell you that I do not want to live much longer, you mustn’t hold it against me, my dear Gretel (but keep this confidential), as I have to suffer a great deal of pain, and this will hardly improve, because miracles no longer happen! So far I still have enough courage and the will to go through with it. Nights are usually better than days, they are only occasionally bad, like last night. Ernst [her doctor], who happened to be here yesterday, gives me medications to ease the pain, and I just took a new medication with my tea a little while ago – I hope it works better than the last one. As long as you stay healthy and don’t work so hard, my dear! Indulge yourself occasionally, which you can do with the money you meant for me.

            Mimi [Emma’s sister Wilhelmine Bing] is due to come soon and probably also Georgi [probably Georgine Eller, another sister of Emma’s]. She is more frequently with me than before because she has fewer distractions than earlier – neither theatre, nor concerts, nor anything else. You could feel sorry for her and even Gustel [Auguste Gutmann, Ferdinand Gutmann’s wife] commiserates with her. And now goodbye for today, my dear. A[delheid] [Emma’s maid] should take the letter along with her afterwards. Warm greetings and kisses,

Your devoted mother

[on top of first page:] Warm greetings to the children.


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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