Tuesday 20 February 2024



Mainz, 28.3.39

My dear Gretel, thank you for your kind thoughts on this day. Oh, if only I was already out [of this life?] – I long so much for it. But no one asks about [my wishes], one has to suffer to the extreme end! You should know that, and [I am telling you now] only because I hope that it will not take much longer, or I would gladly have spared you for the time being. I suffer all the time, and all your prophesies of [the growth] stopping or similar developments, for which I myself have long waited like for the Messiah, are worth nothing. It would have been better if you had asked your clever physicians about medications that might help against the pain which gets worse with every day. Mind you, there is hardly any medication that Ernst [Emma’s doctor] hasn’t prescribed, who looks after me every week now. And since Saturday I also receive injections, which Sister Maria gives me …[illegible]. They make me very tired without helping me much. Today I went on strike. I wanted to write to you already in the morning while lying down, and after the injections I doze for hours. But today I was too tired, and now after my tea which always makes me feel a little better, I write to you immediately because I don’t know how I will feel over the next days and because I also must write to Lilly [Emma’s daughter in Buenos Aires] these days. I am bound to think a great deal about poor Julius [Gretel’s late husband], how much he had to suffer, how he lost weight and hardly had the will to eat anymore. I too am almost at that stage, for a long time now I have been terribly skinny, and most of the time I have to force myself to eat, but for certain reasons I want to hang on a little longer. But don’t come to me now – apart from the fact that you have no time, I no longer have a bed downstairs. The one upstairs in the attic is wrecked, and I returned Mrs. Achenbach’s bed to her. Gustel [Auguste Gutmann, married to Emma’s uncle] is living at Mimi’s [Emma’s sister] now, that poor thing is homeless since Saturday and still has no idea when she can leave and where to go, presumably first to Manchester. It looks like it’s not going to work out in Latvia [where Milly had a textile factory]. Milly stayed at first with Berthe [Bertha Goetz, related to Milly’s husband] in London, and I think, she is also now in Manchester – has she not talked with you? I am sorry that Ernst’s [Gretel’s youngest son] hand is still taking a long time to heal, but I can’t understand it. Your physicians don’t seem to be very skilful. I am surprised that H. wants to build a new future so far away, as she did quite well so far making progress. I am very sorry that now, that you have your furniture, you are not using it and are renting a flat – it’s not about the money that I have to pay (that will happen as soon as Dr. Kraus has permission), but that you have to pay 15 Pounds there now. Surely Wolfgang [Gretel’s oldest son] and Hans [Hans Juda, married to Gretel’s daughter Elsbeth] and Elsbeth too can manage that, and you can repay them later if they are in such need. There are many things in which I don’t understand you. For months you press me about your furniture and when you have it, you make difficulties for yourself. Don’t forget about Liebensteins [Emmas’s neighbours], they would like to know more details about you, and you won’t believe, how uncomfortable I am with that. This week a certain Mrs Lautner [?] was here twice, who wanted to have your address. She referred to a certain Mrs. Altschueler from Kaiserslauten, I believe, whom Julius [Gretel’s late husband] knew very well, and [talked] more such nonsense, and although I was in bed after the second injection, I asked her to come in, so I could [talk to her] myself. I said you are in the process of moving, I did not have an address for you, and why did she need it, etc. Of course it was about Woburn House [Jewish refuge centre aiding German and Austrian Jews to emigrate to Britain], so I quickly got rid of her.  Tomorrow, after 5, I expect [a visit from] a gentleman from the local court for the purpose of a general power of attorney, valid also after my death. [It is] for my administrator, who will come along.  I already…

[The end of this letter is missing. Emma Neuman committed suicide on 3 April, 1939].

For the originals see LBI Archives AR 7167/MF 720.The translation is by Erika Rummel and Susi Lessing.

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