Enclosure: 1 censored letter!                                                   Rivesaltes, 3/28/1942

My good little Fred, my dear Lorle,

You are going to wonder about the heading Manfred; that is because I want to describe exactly our move today and so that I don’t have to write it twice, you are supposed to send this letter to Lorle.  The big day was on Thursday and we sure could have used you and Lorle.  The other barracks had been moved one by one during the whole week except (Barracks #) 20, 30 and 32.  Wednesday evening the word came, that we would move on Friday, the packages were already called out in the evening to be picked up on Thursday at 9 AM.  I was among the lucky ones.  Then Hanni came at 8 AM “We are moving today”.  Margot was already at ORT.  The straw bags had to be turned inside out, the blankets surrendered and then it was time for a shower.

Well, I couldn’t be in two places at once and the package was more important to me.  So I emptied my straw bag, took a package of “wood”[1] already prepared previously which I took to Margot.  She left immediately for (îlot) Q.  It was a jacket from Albert and bread and carrots.  I took the jacket over to Hugo in (îlot) J.  In the meantime, Margot had given up the blankets and straw bags and the lukewarm shower was over.  We cooked a little soup to gain strength for the ordeal ahead.  Then I took several boxes and the full bag which I brought to Hugo for safekeeping, as we did not know yet into which barrack (we would be moving).

At 2 PM everybody had to be at the police station, as one group we went to (îlot) J, where the barracks were assigned, each lugging the maximum possible and so we experienced the exodus from Egypt except that our road did not lead to freedom but to a new Golus [2].  At once the assault for room and beds started.  Margot guarded our spots and I went to (îlot) B, picked up more stuff to be moved, then Mrs. W. stayed and we went back together.  Margot was surprised that I could run so fast despite my heavier load.  I explained to her that Papa, by having sent a good report which we received at noon, helped me.  Once Hugo was allowed to come along.  However, he is no hero yet when it comes carrying.  The comité carriage, a heavy cart with 2 wheels and 2 long handles, had been promised to me so that I did not worry about the heavy luggage.  Upon my return, I had to wait for the cart in front of barrack #23 as the cart went back and forth all the time.   It took more than an hour for me and Mrs. Erlebacher to capture it.   Mrs. E. had a driver whom she used first, I then loaded the two suitcases on top and Mrs. E. and I helped to push.  Then Margot stayed in (îlot) J, I took the cart back, loaded it with boxes and chest, table and little chairs and Mrs. W loaded also.

After the evening meal we led the last wagon load which remained in (îlot) J.  In the meantime blanket and straw bag distribution had taken place.  The blankets were not as nice as the ones we had before.  There was little straw so that there was not enough for everybody.  I got very little and Margot got nothing at all.  We lay down together.  .Margot and Liese who had to sweep (Barrack #) 32 (for a ladle of soup) brought the cart back.  In the meantime, I straightened the place out and was plenty tired.  Mrs. Süss from (Barrack#) 30 was chief[3].  There is no separate little room in the barrack so that she moved out and Mrs. Grieser is chief.  She is very nice and more likable then the other.

Our barrack is known as the nicest so that everybody wants to join us.  Soon we’ll be the “upper crust” barrack of the Paternoster as Mrs. Klopfer also joined us.  It is pretty tight but in time there will be more room.  Today Herbert W., Walter R and another boy are leaving and next week probably Margot Wildmann.  We eat in the refectoire, like the children.  There is a “gong” or whistle and everybody has to go or they get nothing.  The tables are very nice, clean porcelain plates, next to them a spoon and a sparkling clear glass and in the center “flowers”.  Isn’t that great?  There are 8 people per table, Mrs. W., me, Margot, Mrs. Richh. and across Martha H, Mrs. Fleg., a woman from (Barrack #) 30, Mrs. Bertel W.  The food is better, Spanish women serve with each having 3 tables.  However, it is like I told you about Frankf., one can eat after and before the achile[4].  Today and yesterday we are having spinach, which we got as a donation, very delicate and everybody gets a little over two ladles full, Hugo is allowed to come at noon when the weather is good.  Now I want to sketch the plan of the barrack:

So now I described everything for you.  If you want to know more, then ask?  We’ll do it with bread and wine as you did my dear Manfred.  Yesterday I did my wash and today it is drying.  It does not work as well as in barrack B but the barrack is much lighter and nicer.  I am writing while watching my laundry.  The meal is only at 11:30.

I just got your letter, Lorle, which made me very happy especially with the messengers of spring[5].  Tomorrow I’ll get something from you my cute little Fred.  Uncle Sally wrote last week that his friend, who is the directeur of a Jewish children’s home, wrote him to apply on your behalf so that you can go there.  I wrote him to do it.  Right?  Now I want to let Margot write.  Deepest heartfelt regards and a thousand kisses from your

MAMA

Also a kiss for you my dear Lorle!

Dear Lorle and dear Manfred,

I just came from Mrs. Sommer, as I wanted to  pick up our part of the package.  Today Dr. Malkin examined us approx. 25 girls.  The rumor is that we are going to Corrèze next Monday.  Let’s see if it will work out.  Perhaps I’ll even be allowed to visit Papa first.  I still have sooo much to sew.  Dear Lorle, there are also little lavender flowers growing here, like tiny hyacinths.  I think they are poisonous.  Mama even discovered leek, as small as young dandelion.  This we mashed with cheese.  First rate!  On Saturday we got a donation of 3 salad heads and spinach.  I lugged a bag full of salad (like yours, Manfred) from barrack #23.  The word was yesterday that whoever wants some spinach should pick it up in barrack #23.  Now I got a rucksack fully stuffed with it.  We have green vegetables (to last) from Saturday until tomorrow.  F. Rosenfeld is in our barrack again and has a lot of chuzpah [6] Thea is still waiting to get away.  Little Fred, were you still here when she packed all her stuff for right away?  Pretty soon it is Pessach again.  Let’s hope that Papa will lead the Seder again next year and then there will be matzo balls.

Best regards and kisses from your brother HUGO.  I  just happen to be with  our dear ones.  As (we) are in the same îlot, we do it “all the time”.

Today it’s awfully windy again.  The windows don’t rattle as much as they are made of glass.  Helene Mantel and José took off together.  Will probably want to be with Albert[7].   In the lavabos [8] it is like in (îlot) K.  Some men are going to work for peasants tomorrow morning.  Riechl.  is among them.  Edi, Bernd, Sig, Ludw. Schlorch got to leave today.  Best regards and have a good holiday (Pessach).

Regards, MARGOT

Regards for Ria, Bob, Ilse.  Mrs. Grieser is a very fine lady, didn’t know her before.  Mrs. Hirschler is almost too lazy to cook her spinach.  Otherwise she doesn’t care about anything and sleeps.


[1] Must have been the most precious belonging, i.e. bread!

50 Diaspora

[3] One woman was always appointed head of the barrack.

[4] Yiddish for food.

[5] Probably dried flowers.

[6] Gall.

[7] Go to Lyons.

[8] Barrack with washing facilities.