16th March, 1915
Shkotovo

Good morning my love! I have just returned from my walk and now I want to be with you again. How childish grown up men can be. In the last days various rumours have been circulating, that peace is imminent, that an exchange of prisoners is on the cards - sometimes the one, sometimes the other - and everybody questions whether it is possible. Everybody knows a reason and a proof why it impossible. Everybody says that he does not believe it but deep inside every single man hopes that "something " of it must be true because this or that report in the newspaper indicates that things are in the air, that surprises are to be expected. We are all in an almost elevated mood.

Dear God, if at last it were true! Has there not been enough misery and suffering on all sides? This worst of all worlds has never before seen so much distress and sorrow. And the longer it lasts, the worse it gets. How many are lost on the battlefield, how many perish at home? We here also live now in different troublesome days, new worries are upon us. The snow has not disappeared yet, the temperature is still below zero and yet the terrible ghost called "epidemic" is lifting his head already and is gleaning among those who escaped the dangers of the battlefield.

About 5000 men are quartered here, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Turks, and among these, two cruel diseases have broken out. Typhoid fever and typhus claim numerous victims daily. Is it not the most gruesome fate imaginable to die here in misery after one has been spared by the bullets? How many have been carried out already to the graveyard, there on the hill above the sea. Do not those ill - fated men die a double or triple death? How many, who already confidently hoped to see their loved ones again, are now dying defenseless with a curse on their lips against those who sent them into this misery.

Yes, we hear the bullets whistling again! Until now the epidemic has not spread in the officer's pavilion yet, we have had only two cases of typhoid so far; but will we succeed in keeping the danger at bay? We certainly do everything possible; all precautions against the possible spread of this plague are strictly enforced. But is it not the same in battle? Hundreds are killed, hundreds are spared. Do you now understand why, in my periodical notes to you, I always mention that thank God I am "still" in good health? But my little mouse, I am not afraid in this new danger either, since I am in God's hand as I was when the grenades were exploding around me and the bullets were flying about. I think of God, I pray to him for mercy, I think of you and our sweet kids at home and of my duties to you.

But I also hope in the Almighty's clemency that has protected me so far. My love, pray for me as I do for you and God will hear our joint prayers and will protect us. Good bye for today, I have to give a course on agricultural chemistry now and the participants are waiting for me already.

© The estate of Otto Feldmann: Monica Lanyado, Tzafrah Shushan and Aya Shochat