6th January, 1919
6jan19

My dear golden Else! I cannot properly describe to you the feelings with which I am sitting down to my writing today. As a matter of fact, I should not be talking about feelings; because inside me I do not feel anything anymore; I feel hunger, cold, boredom, etc., but the soul does not feel anything. Sometimes I can still weep when I think of you and the children long and properly, but this is not connected with a real feeling. Since yesterday I have been thinking of you without interruption and at last I feel again, I feel an indescribable pain. How could it be otherwise. I am absolutely sure that the same is happening to you, that your tears are absolutely plentiful today.

My treasure! My little mouse! Exactly ten years ago, even the time of day is approximately the same (it is 11 a.m.), my great happiness began; you were the source of it. Happiness is not really the right word for it. Bliss, rapture of the highest order! And it was allowed us only for such a short time! What does world history care about a human life, about a poor human heart. We have now been separated from one another for more than 4 years; perhaps it will be 5 before we see each other again. What is the use of my lament here, what does it help when I try hopelessly to describe in the "letter-book" how my soul is torn to pieces; today you will feel the same as I do and we can tell each other nothing with words. My entreaties of the powers that direct our fate are for your well being and health, the strength for the future happiness.

Are you not amazed that I am again at a different place? On 18th October we were deported for Chelyabinsk. The journey was quite terrible; the soldiers that escorted us robbed us literally of everything down to the shirts on our backs; we arrived here in Krasnoyarsk on 28th October. We were happy to have arrived at the end of our journey at last, but it was not the end of our suffering yet because instead of being taken to the POW camp, we were put into prison, in the company of hooligans and vagabonds. The protest which we immediately entered had no effect, none of our guards and tormentors would or could tell us the cause of our imprisonment. And the 29th of October came - Liesel's birthday. I wanted to write a few lines in this book but I could not find the strength, I had lost my courage and hope, I could not write to Liesel - from a penitentiary. During that time I was in a terrible mental and physical pain. We left no means untried to bring about an explanation and a change in our conditions. After three weeks we managed to inform the chief prosecutor about our case and on 22nd November we were released from prison and transported to the camp.

Here under the pretence of "quarantine" we were held for 3 more weeks in huts made of earth at temperatures reaching -40. Then, at last, we were admitted to the officer's camp, though the contemptuous designation "those released from prison" was still sticking to us. In this camp there are now about 5000 officers, we have coffee houses, a theatre, cabarets, etc., but no money and the food is bad and insufficient. When, my acquaintances from Nizhne-Vdinsk heard about my bad luck, they quickly sent me some money so that I can get by somehow. I am trying to find again a job in a pharmacy somewhere in the town.

For today as ever a thousand kisses.

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