Rivesaltes, 12/28/1941

Dear Lorle,

Now I want to write to you as I have time now.  Today I know a lot about the many celebrations.  The Chanukah celebration was on Thursday a week ago in barrack 33.  It was very nice.  Liselotte took part in a play.  All the teenagers got a package at the end.  In mine there were 2 fig bars, 2 pieces fig bread, 3 crackers and 1 cookie.  In Margot and Hugo’s package there was almost the same.  I don’t remember what.  On Thursday there was the camp Christmas celebration in îlot K3, where only children were allowed.  This was also pretty nice, except that afterwards, during the gift distribution,  there was a lot of shoving.  There was a bag with dried apple chips, almonds, halva and one pencil.  Then there was 1 mandarin, 1 fig bar and a chocolate bar which tasted like praliné.  Thirdly there was a game with a chocolate tablet and 6 crackers.  The chocolate tablet was the same size as the one you sent us.  I received a puzzle meant for younger children.  Should I send it to you?

At Christmas there was better food from the kitchen.  There was potato and noodle soup.  There was a double portion of wine and jam to go with the bread, 2 pickled herrings and the children got 3 mandarins.  There also were 2 portions of meat which are being deducted today.  Last night there was a Christmas celebration in the Secours Suisse.  Not too much was going on there.  Afterwards there were 2 mandarins and almonds collected by the Jewish children in Basel.  Now both Hugo and Margot are in the Secours Suisse.  I still don’t know what they got as they haven’t come back yet.  They can write that to you.

Hopefully you’ll be able to read my handwriting.  I don’t think that I write as illegibly as Mama and Margot.  Now I wrote enough.  You shouldn’t complain.  I still have to leave room for the others so that they can write what they received.  Next time I’ll write you what we got for the New Year.  I almost forgot that I saw the directrice from your home during the milk distribution at the Secours Suisse.  However, I did not know who she was.  Now I really don’t know anything anymore.  Fondest regards and kisses

Your MANFRED

Dear Lorle,

Your Christmas letter just arrived.  We were very happy with it.  For whom did you make the pretty gifts?  Why did you request me as an additional “bowl licker”?  Did you also have Christmas celebrations?  Yesterday morning we got sauerkraut salad, olives, 2 sardines, tea with sugar (it was unfortunately lukewarm) and the bread we brought along.  Yesterday noon we played in the YMCA.  It was pretty nice.  But we got nothing.  The older people received Malaga and 2 cookies from the OSE[1] and there were speeches by Bloch and Neumann.

Yesterday old Mrs. Baer was put into the infirmary with 41 degrees Centigrade fever and Mrs. Erlebacher is OK again.  Some people save their pensions here (for instance, my neighbor) also washing without licking.  I don’t know anymore what I wrote and therefore I can’t write it to you anymore.  But today you have to excuse my handwriting.  My paws are cold.  One notices it also while sewing.  You must learn quite a lot in sewing and in cooking?   Unfortunately I have frostbitten fingers and so Mama has to do everything.  I put cream on (frostbites) so that they don’t burst open like Inge H.’s.  It is pretty bad and many suffer likewise.

My mouth waters hearing about your stuff and your handiwork must be beautiful.  I am really looking forward to your little package, which will come today at noon.  You should also sew something white.  Did you already get the packing material?  Oh, I forgot to write that we inherited the big box from Kurt and Carry.  We are working very hard.  The box is already 3/4 full.  Tonight we got 1/8 or 1/7 bread in O.R.T.  We also got some for last week and for the Christmas days.[2] Let’s see what you have to report about Christmas.  Probably two Megillas.  Many regards from                                                                                                                             MARGOT

My dear Lorle,

Today I am writing as the last one. ……..Mama was interrupted, therefore I am writing a few lines.  We should have received your package on Saturday already but the notice came so late and in the afternoon they were closed.  But we’ll take it today too.  Sincere thanks.  There haven’t been objections about the size of your letters as yet, you should just write on 2 sides, on a sheet the size of this one.  We are postponing the answer to your letter which arrived today till next time so that this letter can still get mailed today.  For today, regards and kisses from your

PAPA

My dear Lorle,

I am starting for the second time to write to you.  A big sheet would not be big enough to write you everything and then?  You could then complain again about my illegible handwriting.  I can’t put together flowers the way you know how, so that I could write to you with it, so you have to be patient until Uncle comes.  He will travel to Grenade[3] in January and will come here too as it is difficult for him to get a furlough now.

We received your small package yesterday, it was wonderful, beyond description, you are our Messiah as the bread is doubly important – – it is for us like with our neighbor to the left during Rosh Hashana.  I am awaiting anxiously your report about Christmas.  You write so vividly and cute, I am happy that you are so well off and wish that Manfred would also be with you.  Naturally, he would also like it best to be with you.  Talk with your directrice that she mention him, when she requests children from here, I will also speak with Schwester Ruth when possible.  I will collect the pack material and send it again jointly with Mrs. Fl.  Then it will only cost 3.75 Fr.  You will also get money.  I also sent Opa boxes and wrote him that I would like to see them filled again, the corrugated carton has to be sewn together.  Well, my “resourceful chum” knows how to take care of herself.  Fondest regards and kisses,

Your MAMA


[1] Organisation pour Secours aux Enfants, a French Jewish organization to help children

[2] Christmas is celebrated for two days in many countries such as Germany and France.

[3] Town west of Toulouse where his wife Vita and daughter Miriam lived.  My grandfather was staying with them at that time.