1st April, 1915
Shkotovo

My sweet Elserle! I nearly missed my chattering hour today since I got hold of a book by Arthur Schnitzler "Mrs Bertha Galan". After lunch I had my nap, then the newspaper had to be translated and now it’s getting dark already. However, I will give up my afternoon's walk since I do not want to lose the pleasure of talking to you, my love. You can't conceive the high internal value these letters have for me. It is a fact that I am always thinking of home, of you and the children. But to concentrate my thoughts is impossible if you consider that I live in billets with 200 other people. But when I sit down with this exercise book, the whole world round me disappears, I see and hear nothing anymore because I am with you and only with you! And what bliss that is! The effect is not always the same. Sometimes the writing puts me into a cheerful and happy mood, at other times it makes me sad, but I am always content afterwards.

Although I am so many miles far from you, although I must suffer spiritual pain aplenty, I am full of joy and confidence when I look to the future because during the long separation from you I have become even more aware of what you are for me, how my whole existence is imbued with your sweet supple personality. My little mouse, what I would like best now would be to declare my love to you again, but I will rather save it till we are together. In future every look and every word of mine should prove to you that you are all my happiness, my sunshine. That in all these excursions of the mind our sweet beloved girls are not the losers is a matter of course. Only now have I learned to value fully the blessings which heavens have bestowed on me.

When I imagine what my young ladies look like now! Liese will be a proper little miss when I come home; will she be glad to see me? I am sure she will! You will often talk to them about me and they will not forget me. It is really a permanent loss for me that I can not observe with you, at this important time for their development, how they become brighter all the time and more aware of the world. But I know they are in good hands with you. I pray they will turn out like you and only like you!

Today is Hugo's birthday. I think of him often. The poor man, what has he suffered already, what awaits him yet! Is he still alive? Terrible! Surely Viktor must be at the front now too. How is he? His fate is also one of my worries. Oh, we are having a very hard time, and yet I must not complain because to me, so far, providence has been very merciful. I hope my luck will last. Today we had 46 men who fell ill and from a single hospital 10 dead; this happens daily. To curb the epidemic in our conditions here is impossible. There will be disease and death as long as we live here. This means that one has to be sensible and trust in God. So that's enough for today, my little treasure. I kiss you and yearn for you.

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