Rivesaltes, April 20, 1942
Dear little Fred,
Today I am writing to you in pencil because my fountain pen is empty. On Shabbos I went to the Oneg. I was off until 5 PM. I gave a little speech there about the counting of the Omer. At the end I received a little fig paste bar and almonds. Yesterday everybody in camp got 2 bars of good chocolate. Your transport to America is apparently going. Mama will write to you whatever she knows about it. I only know what Mama told me. The other children are supposed to be in Marseilles already. But they did not know your address. Margot said: “It is better like that. My little Fred can’t go to America. This has been going on for so long that he does not need it anymore. Also water is treacherous and if I don’t want that he goes, he won’t. I know that he wants whatever I want..” Is that so? I don’t believe it. My opinion is: if it works out that you can go along it is good, but if not, it is OK too. Then it wasn’t meant to be, that you get to America. We just have to wait. We really enjoy your letters especially your cute way of writing. Did you learn much French yet? Are you able to communicate with the Spaniards? So for now I wrote you enough today. Many regards and kisses from your brother
There is a decent Spaniard in the bed next to mine. He already gave me many stamps and Spanish money. He even gave me the lead for my automatic pencil, the one I am writing with.
Once again, regards and kisses
Dear, good, little Manfred,
We received your letter today which we enjoyed very much. You write so sweet and mature. That you finished your little package immediately is right, so that you realized at least that it is your birthday and if even the everyday food was better , what a holiday. Only your dear ones were missing. However, my thoughts dwelled with my child, more than ever.
It was right on your birthday that the news came that, thanks to the Quakers, there are children from the O.S.E. Homes in Marseilles (on their way to the U.S.A.). On Friday I went to the OSE. They gave me Miss Elms’ address and that I should turn to her. On the way back I met the lady with the blue turban who took photographs in (îlot) J. I went to see her in the Sec.-Suisse office to talk about that matter and she explained to me that the children from the OSE Homes were picked up by a commission which did not get to Grammont. She wrote down your address. The Bierig children were already at the Consul’s but because Hannele was 12 last January, she was taken off the list and therefore both had to remain here. Margot scolded me because I want to send you to America, that the water has no beams (support) for a ship that is sinking. Now it looks like it was not meant to be. Yesterday Lorle’s directrice came here. She made an appointment with all the mothers at 10 AM today. She showed us wonderful pictures and told us all about the place there. Lorle gained so much weight that she beat the record, one could practically watch her get fatter. She is very pleased with her, the cook wants her in the kitchen because she works so quietly. She should do that so that by some magic Papa could eat whatever she can’t handle anymore or she’ll burst. Of course, I also discussed you with her (directrice). According to her, you are in the right age group, however, she can’t take in too many Germans as Toulouse decides all that. In the next few days I will got to see Schwester Ruth. You just have to be patient. All of a sudden it will work out. She went with us to the barracks and the refectoire, also to see Hugo and I gave her 2 matzos for Lorle. She really is charming. We could still make wine pudding but we miss the saccharine, not the wine, and could manage to save some bread for it.
Margot left yesterday. Hopefully she hits it well. That the letter and card were not inside may be Papa’s fault as I took everything to him and he sent it off. I don’t have Lorle’s letter anymore in which she describes what they received for Easter. I always send the letters to Papa.
I am well settled in the new barrack. It is not so tight anymore as many people have left already. The table is next to my bed. I used Lorle’s old apron to make a curtain around it. It is pretty cozy. Hugo comes every day if the weather is good and I am happy if I have something for him. We cook together. He looks better again, thank G’d. Soon it will be his turn to get out, then this mother of many will become a childless one who finds happiness when she gets good news from her dear ones far away. In the mornings I go to ORT instead of Margot. I got bread already today. I always have things to sew and whether I go in the morning or in the afternoon is one and the same. Coffee is already available at 7:30, so I get up a little earlier than usual, straighten out my quarters and leave at 8 AM.. Now my darling little Fritz I wrote you a lot and told you everything. With the kindest regards and a thousand kisses from your
The story about mailing your letter is not quite so. Uncle Sally took your letter and posted it. I did not know that something was supposed to be included. I just wrote you a letter. Now you are getting both together.
Kindest regard, PAPA