27th August, 1916

My sweet darling! You see, in my writing this book I do not even stick to the great anniversaries and holidays anymore. On 2nd August I ought to have written, as it was 2 years since we left Breslau. Last week was your birthday, when I surely should have written but I could not. I had to stay in bed for 8 days with a mild irritation of the appendix. I also have been suffering for several weeks from an unpleasant rash caused by nerves, which still is not cured. One would have thought that here, at the end of the world, one would be spared the trivia of everyday life, its private anger and annoyances. Unfortunately that is not so. I have had much chagrin with my dear companions and the last weeks have been very hard for me. In general, I am very depressed and in an ill humour. It is terrible what one has to suffer. It is hopeless, one cannot guess when this misery will end.

I have now reached a point where it is clear to me that I shall come home as a half broken man. Will I find the energy to establish a new means of livelihood for myself? I do not believe anymore that I shall go back to Breslau. I am not willing to accept the old conditions and I do not know whether Schuftan will be inclined to accept my demands. Surely this long interruption must have impaired my qualifications. The aim of my modest efforts to learn the Hungarian language is to be able to find a job perhaps at a factory somewhere in Hungary.

Often and often, my darling, when I lie sleepless in bed, I think of the pleasant past but also of the grey future. Only the knowledge that I will have you at my side again, you and the beloved children, gives me strength and the courage to hope that all will still be well. Thinking of you now causes me almost physical pain. When one has to leave such lovable, sweet creatures, be many thousands of kilometers away from them, be consumed by yearning for them, then one can think of ones home only with tears in the eyes, one has to quarrel with God and mankind, wrangle with one's fate. Darling, I embrace you and the children and kiss you.

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