9th April, 1915
Shkotovo

My dearest! Another day gone! One day after the other and no change whatsoever; what a cheerless prospect! I really do not know what to do and how to kill time. I am not persistent enough, though perseverance is very advantageous here. But I am so restless, so unsettled as never before. Only from time to time am I able to do some work with a certain degree of concentration. But it is not only me to whom this is happening, most of us are in the same boat. This is quite obvious when one observes what the gentlemen are doing. Some sleep most of the time, the luckier ones who have the necessary dexterity, occupy themselves with some constructive hobby such as wood-carving and building all sorts of things. Others persevere with difficult languages which they study with admirable defiance of death; now we have Turkish officers and some individuals do learn Turkish. However, the majority spend their time playing. Apart from chess, bridge, skat, tarrots, etc, all sorts of patience and party games as well as games of chance are being played.

Presently we are fascinated by roulette. A few ingenious gentlemen have opened a casino and all afternoon till 10pm the wheel is turning. One hears the hum of the machine and the croupiers calls. Yesterday we had a gala evening in the casino, with a gypsy band consisting of officers playing popular songs and music from operettas, their mournful Hungarian tunes as well as vigorous marches. A lively promenade developed in the main corridor and Japanese lanterns contributed to the illusion. A good looking first lieutenant had a great success with a speech to the "director" of the enterprise in which he said that everything was very nice, " only the people were missing". I joined the musicians having forsworn the hazard from the beginning; as I have such a golden wife at home surely I can say that I am lucky in love, so why should I tempt lady Fortune. So you see my dear, that's the way we live. For today with a thousand kisses.

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