November 30, 1940


Author(s) / Origin of Letter
Recipient(s) / Relationship to Author(s) / Destination of Letter


Siegfried Jellinek
                               [Lwów, Poland]

Karl and Karla E. Jellinek
(brother/sister-in-law of SJ)
                         [New York City, USA]
Siegfried pleads with his brother, Karl, to try to save his wife, Martha and their 16 year-old son, Erich, from increasing Nazi persecution. He asks Karl to try to bring Martha and Erich to New York, or at least, to obtain ship’s passage for them.
Although Siegfried expresses resignation at his own precarious ‘stateless’, dependent and isolated situation in Lwów, he also maintains “the fervent wish to hold out” and that ‘spring’ will return.
Siegfried also conveys concerned and loving greetings to the entire family.

                                 Lwów, November 30, 1940

         Most beloved brother, Dearest Karla!

        Already two and a half months have passed, and I painfully miss hearing from you directly, and only get news of what is going on with you, Maxl and Anny,1 through our loved ones from Vienna. Have you, beloved Garlo,2 received my birthday letter, which I sent to you via Maxl, on time? How are you Karla and how are your sweet children? Do you have to work very hard? Oh, how much would I like to help you. Dear brother, is it quite impossible to bring Martha and Erich3 to you?  Perhaps, nevertheless, you could obtain ship’s passage for them? If you could, a great stone would be lifted from my heart. I myself am already resigned and am slowly giving up hope of seeing my dearest ones ever again. Unfortunately, I don’t have any work, and am dependent on the assistance of my present family4, whose hands I depend on to provide for me. It is not a good situation, but I still have to live. I sent my passport to the German consulate in Moscow for an extension, but it was revoked and confiscated. A new passport is not obtainable for us and so [two words unreadable] joining the life of the

[address side]

“stateless” and that is not very pleasant. But, I have the fervent wish to hold out and someday, there certainly has to be spring again. Please write to Anny and Maxl; tell them that they should write to me and I beg you again to help Martha and Erich and to write to me in detail soon.
Uncountable kisses, your Friedl5

Uncountable kisses to Michele and Bernie!6

[written down left side of address side of postcard]

Many hearty greetings to Frieda, Irma, Mo and Dr. Epstein!7

Translated by staff of Leo Baeck Institute, NYC, partially reviewed by Sütterlinstube, Hamburg, Germany.


1. Max Jellinek and Anna Jellinek Nadel were Siegfried’s younger siblings, who had escaped to Shanghai, China and to Sydney, Australia, respectively. At this time, the “loved ones” in Vienna were Siegfried’s older sister, Gisela, her husband, Leopold, and Siegfried’s parents, Siegmund and Berta.

2. family nickname for Karl Jellinek.

3. Siegfried’s wife and son, respectively;

4. This may be a cryptic reference to a local family in Lwów, or to Siegfried’s spouse and/or extended family still in Vienna. If Siegfried’s use of “my present family” (“. . .meines hiesigen Familie. . . ” is indeed code for some local benefactors in Lwów, it is unfortunate that we do not know who these people were and what motivated them to aid Siegfried so significantly. PJ

5. family nickname for Siegfried Jellinek.

6. “Michele” (Michaela) is Karl and Karla Jellinek’s eldest child, born August 1937 in Vienna. Siegfried did not know yet that “Bernie” (Bernhard) had tragically died of meningitis in September 1940, when he was just eleven months old. You can read a little more about the circumstances of Bernhard’s terribly untimely death in the third-from-last paragraph on Karl Jellinek’s biography page: ( )

In Siegfried’s letter of January 18, 1941, ( ) he expressed compassionate sympathy for Bernhard’s death, that he had learned of only the day before.

7. The first of these four names is “Frieda,” Siegfried’s first cousin and the wife of “Dr. [Adolf] Epstein.” Frieda and Irma, née Schafer, were sisters, and were Siegfried and Karl’s maternal first cousins. Irma and Frieda’s father, Max Schafer, and Siegfried and Karl’s mother, Berta Schafer Jellinek, were siblings. “Mo” is most probably short for “Marcel” (aka“Marcelli”) who was Irma’s husband.

Following this greeting, there are two words, written in pencil that have faded, and that were overlooked by the translators. The top word appears to be “Prosit”(English: “to your health!” or “Bless you.”). The word underneath ‘Prosit’ appears to begin with “Teu.” The faded remainder of this word appears to have a lower case “t” in the middle, and to read as “Teuersten”(English: “dearest”). There may be an exclamation point after it. Altogether, “To your health, dearest [ones?] !” makes sense together and seems likely to be an additional loving greeting that Siegfried squeezed in this available space.

There are some indecipherable, faded pencil marks written along the right side of the address side of the postcard as well. PJ

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