Saturday 10 February 2024



 22.3. 1939

My dear Gretel, I just settled down to write to you, that is, stretched out on the chaise longue, as I always do in the morning -- earlier I had called Dr. Kr[aus], unfortunately to no purpose because you always tell me half of everything or less than half -- when Mrs. Liebenstein [Emma’s neighbour] arrived for a lengthy visit. She too had nothing pleasant to tell me. First about Dr. Kr[aus]: You tell me that your furniture is now at customs, for which I was very glad. As you write that everything is working out once I pay, I waited until this morning for a call from Dr. K. telling me to send the money. Then I called him myself, so I could write about it to you, and heard to my surprise that I need not look after anything, that you knew everything from him, from Br. and Roth etc., also the main thing – that the 15 Pounds must be paid there in foreign currency, as for sending the money to the company one first needs permission from the foreign currency office. Dr. K. is of the opinion, which I second, that it cannot be very difficult for you to have someone there pay the 80 Marks or lend them to you. Is Wolfgang [Gretel’s oldest son] not able to do so, or Turk [?] or whoever else there may be? And I cannot understand that you cannot find sufficient time for yourself, to rent a flat. After all that is also important, and mainly, let me advise you not to rent just a place for the summer now that it will soon be warm weather, but rather to think of winter, so that you will have a warm and comfortable place by then. You know how bad this winter was, and we had snow until yesterday and very cold temperatures. Mrs. Liebenstein was very indignant – I promised to report it to you. She wrote to you twice in five months, always with return postage, and you remained mum (she said). She has a very rich brother in Lugano [?], who will give full guarantees for her, and they also want to go to England and would like to know how much money they have to deposit and for how many years. I promised to write that to you, and perhaps you could write to her directly at Kaiserstasse 41 or write to me, and she will pick up the answer in eight days. It would be best if you told her about the office where she needs to apply. If you could do so, I personally would like it if you took care of her a little. She was not wrong to say: if one lives 30 years in a house, well, etc. To get back to your office affairs, may I ask: What do you mean when you say “Tell Oppenh[eimer] and the other relatives that I have nothing at all to do with Wob[urn] House”? [Woburn House was the Jewish Refugee Centre helping German and Austrian Jews to emigrate to Britain.] I know that very well and haven’t been asked for your address or anything else in a long time. Who is Oppenheimer? As far as I remember…Marianne [?] asked for your address. Are the Webers finally leaving you in peace? I haven’t heard from them in a long time. Mar.’s principle is to write to us only when she wants something, and Lilly v H [i.e. from Hanau?] didn’t even think of visiting me. Some time ago I wrote to you “I bet you ten to one, that you won’t guess who visited me” – since it is a riddle, put a “Dr.” in front, and you’ll solve it. That Lilly has an acquaintance in Hanau, you know as well as I do, you silly girl! Did you not at the time take my silverware along? [A decree of Feb 21 1939 required Jews to turn in gold, silver, and other valuables to the state without compensation.]  Otherwise, I don’t understand your doubts. Adele visited me yesterday morning and told me much that was of interest. After years of hesitation on B’s part, she and B intend to visit your hospitable island, but how long will it take [to realize that]? T. Georgi was here just now for an hour in the morning and brought me a very kind letter from Irmgard and a piece of Prinzregenten cake from the birthday [celebration]. Lieschen arrived safely in C[anada] with her party of five. Now, after my tea, I am sitting once again at my desk, expecting Mimi [Wilhelmine Bing, Emma’s sister] shortly, perhaps also Guste [Auguste Gutmann, married to Emma's uncle] and am sending you, my dear child, 1000 heartfelt greetings and kisses for today. Your devoted mother.

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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