30th August, 1915

My only one! Today I must come to you again to tell you about my misery! I am again awfully depressed. I have been trying to fight it when I felt it coming, I have worked, if that bit of language studies can be called work, I have read if the devouring of books can be called reading! But the result is hopeless. All my effort does not produce any advance in my studies, I pity my Hungarian teacher already and I am almost ashamed of being such a poor pupil. My reading is not profitable either because my brain is full of holes and retains little of what I have read. I meant to take out this diary before but I did not have the energy nor was I in the right frame of mind.

However, today I am at the bitter end and I cannot let it go on like this. I shall give it a break for a few days and try to pull myself together again. The weather makes it all even worse. It is raining day and night, one cannot go outdoors and so I sit here, a lamentable figure. The long absence of news from you is also hard to bear. In the last days heaps of mail arrived, some fellow prisoners got 10-20 postcards; I was waiting at the distribution of the mail as if in expectation of the lottery jackpot but nothing came for me! I get excited over every trifle, I quarrel with people who are totally indifferent to me, I harass the servant, I torment myself, in a word - I am loathsome.

The only time I like is in the evening when I am in bed. So, a few days ago on the 27th, I remembered how we went together into town to buy the handbags for Frieda. I could not let go of the image of my children how they jumped about in their dirndl dresses. I so enjoyed the green flower pattern of the dress, the pink of the little aprons, I played with it with almost sensual pleasure opening my eyes and then closing them again and having the colours again in front of me. Is not that a modest entertainment? But yet - I thank God for having you, for being able to think of you happy, and torn by pain, for just having to close my eyes to see you standing in front of me. You stand so near and I see you so clearly that I could touch you.

And when I open my eyes there are again 11000 kilometers between us, and I see my 42 suffering companions with whom I share the dormitory, how each of them is killing time in his own way. Of course all of them are suffering, one more the other less, but I am convincing myself that I am most deserving of pity of all since nobody can have such a sweet wife and lovely children waiting for him as I have. Every day is a new loss. But afterwards my dear! Enough for today or I shall go mad.

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