14th June, 1915

My sweet little mouse!

At last I am again writing in my book. A lot has been happening in the days when I did not write, that was the reason for my silence. On 3rd June we heard that a number of officers would be leaving Shkotovo. On the next day a list of 100 officers was read out to us, the ones who would be transported away. I was not among them but Psotta and Profst were. Remembering that the two of them had volunteered to leave Razdolnaya and come with me to Shkotovo and considering also that we have got very used to one another, I was trying to change places with one of the officers on the list; ultimately I was permitted to do so. But now I had to listen to severe reproaches from many fellow prisoners who were staying behind and had apparently come to like me during our 3 months stay in Shkotovo.

In particular Dr Reif, with whom we have become close friends, did not agree at all with my decision. However, I had made up my mind and it was now anyway impossible to make any change. The matter did not pass off without some annoyance though. Two transports were put together, each of 50 men. I was allocated to the first, Profst and Psotta to the second. I was afraid that each of the transports would be sent to a different destination and we would thus be separated after all. All my attempts to be transferred into the second group were unsuccessful.

On Saturday evening the troops paid a remarkable homage to us. About 150 men gathered after supper under the windows of the Officers Pavilion and sang several songs they had rehearsed before, then a German non-commissioned officer stepped forward and made an affectionate farewell speech for the officers. I think we all wept. Then we packed and the next day, Sunday the 5th June at 9.00am we, the first 50 officers, marched off with all our baggage to the railway. My band of musicians had posted themselves at the gate and played merry tunes. We boarded our carriage, which was then attached to a scheduled train. The windows and balconies of the barracks were full of our comrades who were staying behind, and when the train passed by there was no end to the waving of handkerchiefs and calls from one side to the other. When Shkotovo disappeared behind us, we began to settle down in the carriage.

We traveled first along the line Ugolnaya Razdolnaya-Nikolsk. In Nikolsk the track branches off to the north. The journey was quite pleasant and interesting; as mentioned earlier, we traveled with a passenger train and stops were therefore never too long. The night was O.K too; being used to travelling now, I slept very well. On 6th June at 5 o'clock in the afternoon we arrived in Krasnaya Rechka. There we had to leave our baggage and march 7 kilometers to reach the barracks. I enjoyed the march through the green countryside and in the evening, at about eight, we arrived at our new quarters where about 200 officers, made prisoners in August and September, have been living since January. Tomorrow or next time I shall tell you more. Thousand kisses.

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