17th March, 1915
Shkotovo

My little mouse! Why do I feel so sad today that I could weep and scream! So terribly sad, so strangely sad! It is not nerves because nerves I do not acknowledge anymore. What is happening? Darling, for God's sake, are you ill, is something wrong with the children? If I could at least be with you for an hour, I would then happily return to the dangers and mental torture of my captivity. It is not the first time that I am troubled by such thoughts.

How I suffered on February 2nd On that day we were travelling again, the suffering made me really ill. It was the birthday of my dear sweet Ederle! How was the birthday for you all? Liesels birthday had been painful enough but at the time I kept telling myself: When Ederle's turn comes, you will be at home again. My woe was really not selfish, no, only the thought how sad you must be, the thought that the child will ask:"why does not papa come home for my birthday"? Would not the child with her lively mind become resentful of me? I was on the train, already thousands of kilometers away from you, being driven further and further. Everything in me reared up in sadness and anger, and I cried, I wept bitterly. Writing these lines it just occurred to me that today there is a birthday again - that of my late mother. Although she had been deprived of so much joy not being allowed to press you and the children to her heart, she has also been saved a lot of suffering.

All three of us are away from home. Where is Hugo? Is he still alive? What is Vika doing, who had also suffered so much? How is Irma? All, all of you go through my mind today. For God's sake, what's happening that my brain works so feverishly in that direction. God have mercy with me! Take my golden mouse, my beloved children under your protection and guard me from the worst! Very soon you will again have to suffer what women have to suffer. How will you feel then? I could tear myself to pieces! We have the first case of typhus on the officer's pavilion already! Who will be the next one? But chin up! My darling I cannot go on today. Be God with you!

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