2nd June, 1915
Shkotovo

Today is a sad remembrance day for me. Eight years ago, on the 2nd June, our beloved mother died. That was a difficult, sad time for us. I remember today the last journey to the hospital where mother was lying in her coffin which had not been shut yet to give me, as the last arrival, the chance to say goodbye to her. Father went with me. The plain coffin was in a small room and my mother whom I had loved and revered so much, had a sweet, almost transfigured smile in her face. The moment when the attendant lifted the lid of the coffin affected me so deeply that it will remain engraved in my memory forever. I fell onto my knees and wept, like a child can weep only at his mother's coffin. Back in the corner of the room stood my father and he cried with me. He let the anguish of my mind abate and then he led me gently away. The door had hardly been shut behind us when I heard a hammering - the closing of the coffin. Like nails being driven into my heart.

Then the funeral, and thereafter I returned to Breslau. There I felt deserted and so sad that I was afraid I would fall ill. Then I wrote to you. You answered with sweet, kind words of consolation, and sooner than I would have thought possible I was forgetting my deep grief.

When I visited her grave on 31st October 1914 before I went to war, I was alone there and felt again very close to her, I thought I felt her breath. I wept bitterly and thought of you and the children, of father and Hugo, and my tears flowed in streams. I do not know how long I was there, it was getting quite dark. With my arms folded on the grave and my face pressed on them, I must have been kneeling there for at least half an hour when an elderly lady approached me and told me I could not stay any longer as the cemetery was about to close soon. I left in peace and hope; I hoped that I would return to you all, and to her grave, and that I shall thank her for her protection of us! Today, eight years from her death, my thoughts are again with her and you.

The alarming report about the Rumanian declaration of war was fortunately a lie. Here everything goes in its usual way. I continue diligently to learn Italian and Hungarian but I find with regret that learning is becoming very difficult for me; I am beginning to get old, don't you think so too? Never mind, I have a beloved young wife, two sweet little girls and now even a real son that will cheer me up once I am back with you. Oh, if that "when" were with us already; it must come one day! And then, darling, then, oh then I shall be happy because I am madly in love again, in love with you, my happiness, my solace, my all! May the Almighty continue to protect you, to keep you in good health, and then everything will be forgotten - woe, grief and sorrow which now threaten to crush me. My mood is quite solemn today, darling, you are my guardian angel. Good bye for today. Ardent kisses!

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