18th March, 1915
Shkotovo

Today my scribbling won't be much good. Yesterday in spite of my ill humour, I had to attend a meeting of representatives in a matter of honour where I smoked too much and got unnecessarily excited. As a consequence of this I woke up in the morning with a headache and have not got rid of it yet although it is already 5 p.m. And what should I write today?

We are all very sad here. Among the troops there were yesterday 50 new cases and 5 deaths, today 21 fell ill and 4 died. This continues like a screw without end; it can only be a matter of days when the epidemic breaks out among the officers. We do not talk about anything else anymore, a lot of washing and disinfecting is going on, advising, decision taking, issuing of orders which are often quite nonsensical. Everybody would like to be pickled in disinfectant but it will come nevertheless as it must. The physicians do not know what to do; they can’t help because there is a shortage of room, of medication and resources, and last but not least, of good will. And so the unavoidable, the judgement of God will come upon us. Should I persuade myself that I will be spared? That I cannot do. Has not my neighbour, the third and the fourth the same right to count on God's mercy?

We stand again over a deep abyss from which there is no escape for many, perhaps for most of us. What is the use of our decisions, our preventive measures against God's will? But I still do not lose my belief in God's mercy, I hope He will perhaps preserve me for you and the children, for you who it deserve it though I myself am unworthy. I will stop here since my thoughts are woeful and my head and heart ache! Farewell my little mouse, perhaps it will get me tomorrow, perhaps it won't!

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