My dear children,

Today I want to take your letter of the 18th. in hand, so that I can answer your questions in detail.  Your letter arrived yesterday afternoon.  We had Yom Kippur yesterday.  There was a religious service in the central ward with much skipping and therefore many recesses.  Out of respect for the establishment, there couldn’t be any loud praying, on the other side  there was hammering and loud talking and other noises, so that one had to pay attention to understand the Cantor.  I fasted till noon, many did not fast at all and only a few fasted the whole day.  I could have fasted a little longer but I wanted to have the food while still hot and that is only possible at mealtime.  Did you fast?  I believe that according to Jewish custom, Manfred should have fasted a full day, three times before Bar Mitzvah.  However we don’t know as yet, dear little Fred, if we will be able to celebrate your Bar Mitzvah on the right day or later.  We do have the intention to celebrate it fully.

What kind of work do you have to do Manfred, what kind of boys are there where you sleep, how old, which religion and what nationality.  Which language do you speak most, German, French, Spanish?  How is it with going to school?  Dear Lorle, you are quite concerned about our underwear and therefore it is good that Manfred is with you.  It is quite a responsibility but you learn from it too.  That Manfred gets his clothes replaced is very nice and reason for thanks.  I also had a letter from Mrs. Lach and before that a little package.  I still have to add about Yom Kippur that I also received a colis Suisse from my cousin Sigmund which arrived Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday a package arrived from the comité: A kilo box of “Dattine”, probably date powder, very good and sweet, dried banana, a few cookies, 5 aspirins, toothpaste, 1 postcard and some toilet paper and 10 frs., well, a very satisfying package, I don’t know where from as one could not read the post office cancellation mark.  In any case from a main committee.  In comparison, Rosh Hashana was meager, there just came some grapes from here 10 frs kg.

I still haven’t heard about the luggage and I have made inquiries but haven’t had an answer.  The writing regarding Camp Drancy[1] was interesting for us.  The same day Mr. Billigheimer received a postcard in which his wife advised that she was on the transport to Kattowitz.  The card was from the 9/12.  Your letter from the 9/10.  Therefore we did not write there and for the further reason because a gentleman from Switzerland wrote that we would not hear from our dear ones, perhaps not even through the Red Cross.  Otherwise he wrote well to the point so that one should hope that the time for suffering will soon be over.  They also say that  Finland asked for an armistice.  Even if it is only a small country, it should still be an advantage.  In 1918, it also started like that, that first one country asked for an armistice and the others had to follow soon after.

I was very happy to read, dear Manfred, that you like it so much there and that you can really eat your fill.  In any case, that can do no harm.  As I already wrote, I had two packages on Yom Kippur.  That is a very nice supplement.  Due to the fact that I also get soup from my neighbor, I can eat my fill (with the bought food), and often I am told that I look very good.  At the last weigh in I had gained 1 kg., now approximately 54 kg.  Still too little, but gaining weight means that the body is not too sick to gain weight.  Perhaps you can invite me to visit you for a few weeks.  It would probably work if the prefecture[2] would not have to authorize it.  Erev Yom Kippur we got: noodle soup with seconds, green soup (with potatoes) and my neighbor’s portion, tomato sauce and sausage, meat supplement with 1 tablespoon fat.  Comparatively a very good meal.  (I have to shake your fountain pen all the time, Manfred, as it stops every few lines).  Now we get the whole loaf of bread and somebody cuts it for 8 men, each 250 gr.  This new rule has been instituted since a few weeks due to registered complaints about uneven pieces.  There is seldom cheese and jam.  One can buy bread, but it is fairly high priced, but one can exchange cigarettes for it.

It is less windy here than in camp and it is not cold yet.  We shall endure that if we get our freedom back.  Mr. Rüntheimer is not here anymore, was also shipped off.  His wife is in Elne.  Doris was in a sanatorium for a few weeks, is here again, does not look well, has hair cut short and a rash in the face, is all blown up.  I already wrote about our …….. menu, to which Quaker soup gets added at noon.  We only get the two soups in the evening twice a week.  Eggs are an unsolved mirage.  Those on the “small diet” received a bit of omelet for a while, just like in Rivesaltes in the beginning.  I am happy that you plan to write to me twice a week.  I always watch out for the mail, just like you.  But I don’t know so much all the time to fill a whole sheet.  But I will try to write to you as much as possible.  Up till today there were no more letters from Sally or Opa.

For today, kindest regards and kisses

Your PAPA

I received the enclosed envelope in one of Mama’s letters.  Now you can use it.  Also enclosed card from Pauline.


[1] Transit camp near Paris from which trains left for Auschwitz.

[2] Local Government.