22nd April, 1915

My darling! I have not written for almost a whole week! I could not! I am waiting for a message from day to day, and even though I tell myself a hundred times that I cannot expect you to receive mail yet, even though I listen to officers taken prisoners in August telling me they received their first news from home only in December or January, I may be more composed for a while but next morning I again wake up with the hope: "today something will come". And when then, of course, nothing comes, I am again terribly disappointed. This hoping and daily disappointment rests heavily on my mind, I am useless all-day and unable to do anything. And although I am absolutely certain that this absence of post is not your fault, that, on the contrary, you wait in vain for news just as I do and that you worry and grieve, due to the inclination to be unjust with which we are born I took it into my head that I shall not write into this book until I have a message from you.

However, yesterday evening I was again gripped by an elementary force, I felt a painful longing for you and the children, I became weak and wept in my helpless pain. Then I remembered my neglected letters. I would have liked best to sit down and write immediately but the result would have been a cry from my soul and nothing else. So then I decided to seek help in another way. I went to my fellow-sufferer lieutenant Dr. Reif and made him listen to my lamentations. Reif has been prisoner of war already since mid-September; he is a solicitor from Vienna and had been married for barely five months before he was sent to the front. Recently he received a message that he had become the father of a lovely baby girl. We talk very often, for hours, and serve mutually as lightning conductors for our moods. I would not be surprised if you one day obtained a letter from his wife. Yesterday, as usual, he tried to comfort and console me but succeeded only to a limited extent. The night has also made its contribution as comforter, and although I am not in the best of moods today either, I will endeavour to be and stay calmer.

But if only you knew how I felt yesterday! You certainly do not know what you mean to me, how dependent I am on you. This cannot be anymore what is simply called love, it is the sublimation of one's individuality, it is not love anymore, it is worship. My God, now the war has been going on for 9 months, I have been prisoner for 4 months, I think the end must come soon; albeit, this "soon" is a very vague term. It must still last many months this "soon", but nevertheless the thought of it is so lovely. My little mouse, I shall again be with you and the children, I shall have you back. Once I am near you I will quickly forget everything I have suffered. And hence I will try not to make my any way sad existence even darker by gloomy thoughts, and instead to cling with heart and soul to the hope and to the future in which, as in my past, you will be the leading character. So for today farewell, my bliss and my all.

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