My dear Manfred,

I hope that you arrived well and that we’ll hear from you tomorrow or the day after.  We learned from Ilse Gottschalk’s letter how pretty is is there and we were pleasantly surprised, also a heavy weight fell from my heart. Hopefully you will like it there too, my dear child and then I’ll be happy, but write honestly how things are with you.  Liselotte is very, very homesick, she writes every day, she is in Palavas and will move further on Tuesday, probably to join Margot Hirschler.  She writes that the food in Pal. is good in quality but short in quantity, also a lot gets “geganeft” [1] and she is very glad to have the two blankets she took along.

We had two absolutely gorgeous days this week, we sat in front of the barrack.  Today it is raining.  I did not receive your supper nor your lechem [2] from lunchtime[3].  Today we are cooking chickpeas, Papa received his part too. We get it all the time.  This is for the best.  I received a comité package today, dates, carrots, toothpaste, soup cubes, writing paper.  We organized the Oneg last night.  Neum. is all through, wasn’t even there, he has no authority any place anymore.  Otherwise everything is the same, once in a while a theft occurs in the barrack yet no thief has ever been found.  I am going to visit Papa in a little while.  Many kisses from your

MAMA

Dear Manfred,

Hopefully, you had a good trip and got acclimatized well.  Please write us about everything in great detail.  At the Oneg yesterday we each got a fig stick.  Do you have a barber[4] there or do you need one?  We are waiting anxiously for your first report.  I am going to visit Papa with Mama now.  Many regards and kisses from your brother

HUGO

Dear Manfred,

Thanks to Ilse’s letter, we already know how things are there.  You still have to write us a detailed report with pictures.  If you can’t finish it at one time, then write us that the continuation follows.  Did you get a bath?  Do you go to school?  How many blankets do you have?  Is it similar to Dürheim[5]?  Do you manage to empty your plate nicely at each meal?  Hey, a good thing you learned to eat everything.   Do you have to help with chores?  Did you draw already?  Supposedly the scenery is so very beautiful.  Albert could visit you once.  Lyon is not too far.  Write, “Dear Uncle, please come and visit me”.  This week we again received a package from Lorle. Potatoes, 4 little triangles (of cheese?) + 6 small ………………….? and, as usual, everything is already all gone.  Yes, yes, it just goes too fast.  Be happy that you don’t have your bread to just look at, to divide it in small pieces (to make it last longer.)  We are glad for you.  Write us your menu and how much.  Is this Home rather old?  I am sure that you are not as homesick as Liselotte.  If you become homesick, just draw something or think of the stomach, don’t you think?

We cooked excellent cereal this week with milk and peaches from the Swiss package and today the chickpeas with a grated potato and a little bread.  It was good and thick.  On Friday, the old She-Bear[6] paid a visit to Mrs. Hirschler.  She almost chewed my ears off as she did not stop talking.  Mrs. H. told her,”I got some goodies for you, chickpeas (pun with Knallerbsen [7])”. Oh Manfred, did I laugh.a bellyful.

The Oneg was much quieter and nicer yesterday.  We sang and Mincha was said and Bloch made a speech and Neumann was nowhere to be seen.  Mrs. Weil asked which of the children was the best behaved and when little Salo said “meee”, everybody laughed.  Hugo and Mama went to visit Papa while I housesit, a very useful occupation, as you well know[8].  Watch your things Liselotte stows everything in her bed as so much gets stolen.  Manfred[9] made his usual Saturday visit and his mother acted very important.  We emptied your straw bag today.  Rather we gave it to Mrs. Wolf but first filled Mama’s straw bag.

We also got a little package from Marseilles, a beautiful pair of boots, a crocheted coffeepot cozy (cover), a little piece of weasel fur,  five different single gloves (leather and cloth) and a child’s sock and a little wool and two caps.  The Billigheim kids left for Palavas on Friday.  Something bites me and I can see a flea jumping in my undershirt but I can’t catch it.  Write us a long and detailed letter.  It is raining all day long today.  I thought so yesterday as the wind shifted.  I sure wrote you plenty now.  But I can still think of something else.  The first night when you were gone we were colder than usual as we did not cover ourselves as well nor could we huddle as well.  On Thursday my foot hurt so badly that I could not walk anymore.  Now I can jump again.  Yesterday we got first rate thick spicy rice with olives at the Secours Suisse.  On Friday we had sauerkraut and halva.  Best regards and grow big and fat and strong and round.  Regards to Ilse and Bertie.

MARGOT

In the package there were yet: 1 bathing trunk, 1 earmuff, 1 vest  with one sleeve.

My darling Fritzel,

Hugo and I visited Papa in the worst downpour.  He is O.K.  We’ll write you again at the end of the week.  In the meantime I hug and kiss you,

Your MAMA

Are your nails cut?!

Regards for Miss Gottschalk and Miss Nathan.


[1] Yiddish for stolen

[2] Hebrew for bread

[3] It looks like my mother tried to get my food after I had left the Camp.

[4] My brother had learned to be a barber in Germany when he could not study anything else.

[5] Jewish summer camp in the Black Forest to which we had all gone.

[6] Mrs. Bear

[7] Stink bombs

[8] To prevent theft, particularly of food.

[9] Somebody else with the same name.