22nd April, 1920
22apr20

My love! Surely, I must write I my book of letters today! Kurti's 5th birthday!! It is almost impossible to put up with the thought that at home I have a five year old boy whom I do not know. I better abstain from trying to describe now, in the evening, the emotions which preoccupied me all day; otherwise my letter would again be no good at all. In my mind I kiss the boy!

The last week was a bad one for me. We left Tsitsikas on the 15th, stopping again and again for half a day or even a whole one at bigger and smaller stations. On 20/4 in the afternoon we arrived in Harbin and there my depression reached its peak. Immediately after arrival we went to town. You know, little mouse, I nearly fought with tears. A splendid town, a metropolis; and there I first realised that I feel a stranger in the world. The people, the traffic, the well-dressed people - I felt oppressed by them. And the wonderful things you see there, things which you would love to buy for your dearest.

After the second attempt to buy something in a shop - nothing exciting, a very modest article - I gave up, because when told the price I felt too wretched. And at the same time you have to watch how a rather shabby Chinaman is buying things with absolute ease, things which to me appear luxuries from paradise. Thank God this was the only excursion into Harbin (we continued our journey at night) because a longer stay would have cost me the last remainder of my sanity. As said, we traveled on (God be praised) during the night and arrived here in the afternoon, at the 1131st kilometer of the Manchurian railway. About 500km to Vladivostok yet remain, and if nothing untoward happens, considering that the damage caused by the recent fighting has been repaired, we should arrive there in 8-10 days. However, in Vladivostok we shall, no doubt, have to wait 4-5 weeks for embarkation, since a lot of troops are waiting there to be sent before us.

The main event of the day was the purchase of four pairs of stockings for you, I can't tell you what pleasure they give me. They are hardly worth mentioning, but after all I can buy something for you. My program of purchases is quite extensive but the management reserves the right to make some changes in it. We received some newspapers from Prague, among them "Prager Tagblatt", and from the various articles on can work out what is best (or what would be best) to buy here.

Only a few more months to endure, my dearest, and then we will be united again and we can embark once more on our voyage to happiness. The life of the last six years, I must admit, has made me very tired but I hope for new courage at your side and for new strength. If I only find you all in good health, I will no longer look backwards and grieve over my losses, I will look only forward, always forward for you and the children; it will not be easy but I am not afraid. And once I know that you are well provided for, then I do not wish anything for myself but the pleasure of seeing that you are contented. Little mouse, I yearn for you all beyond the imagination. But what can I do; I must survive and then I will take you all in my arms and will never let you go again.

Many thousand kisses, especially to Kurti.

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