9th March, 1915
9mar15

(Having just returned from my walk, I am sitting down to my writing immediately, otherwise I might easily lose the opportunity to do so. Yesterday evening we had a concert arranged by the Hungarian officers. Songs alternated with violin playing and I really enjoyed it. Something usually happens everyday that brings some variety into our monotonous life. For instance, this morning we were paid "advance" of 35 roubles towards our "salary"; we are now entitled to 50 roubles per month so that we are presently owed 100 roubles. You see darling I am now again a rich man and "carefree", but I will continue with my tracks.)

Having boarded the train at 12 noon, we left Nikolayevsk at 9p.m. allegedly for Irkutsk. We made ourselves as comfortable as possible in our 4th class carriage. Our main trouble was with the heating, it was either cold or very hot in the carriage. This caused problems particularly at night when on our two-story bunks, the lower ones were freezing while the upper ones were being roasted. Sometimes disagreeable controversies took place on this account but on the whole our frame of mind was good. On 2nd Feb we arrived in Deiga, on the 4th we crossed an enormously wide river and on the 6th another one, and having left behind us 52 tunnels and the beautiful Lake Baikal we arrived on the 7th Feb in Irkutsk. About my impressions from Lake Baikal I shall write to you in more detail later. On the way we had already heard that our destination was not Irkutsk but Nikolsk. On the 8th we were in Verdnedinsk and on the 9th in Manchursk which is already on Chinese territory.

A long stretch of the East Siberian railway actually leads through Manchuria. New impressions, the building style, the people, the language, every thing is different and even more alien than hitherto. We passed Kirkiz, Buryat and Cherkass villages where cows and horses were replaced by dromedaries. About all this I will also say more later. On the 13th we were in Cizika, crossed here and again next day near Harbin, a large river, on the 15th we passed Handasheski , on 16th Progranitsa where we left Chinese territory again. In the morning we arrived in Nikolski; the train continued for another half an hour to Razdoloc where we were detrained. After a march of 3/4's of an hour we arrived at a Cossack barracks where other officers had been held prisoners of war for several months already. About our stay at Razdoloc I shall write more tomorrow.

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