June 1-5, 1941 (?)1


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


Berta Schafer Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Leopold Schlesinger
(see Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger's bio)
Siegmund Jellinek

                              [Vienna, Austria]
Hugo Jellinek
Fritzi Fränkel
(see Hugo Jellinek's bio)
                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (granddaughter of BSJ and SJ, niece of GJS and LS, daughter of HJ, stepdaughter of FF)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Sad, final messages from each of the letter writers, including from Gisella Nadja’s own father. Each close relative seems to try to reassure him/herself and Gisella Nadja of his/her fate and expresses love and yearning to be together again.

                                                                                                                                                (View German transcription)

My beloved child, I kiss you a thousand times.


I hope [to be there / to see you ?] soon.


My beloved Gisuschkerle!

Mutti may have written herself, but unfortunately, she sees so poorly these days. The main thing is that you see her beloved [hand]writing, and her words are particularly tragic, as one can see how greatly she yearns for you, because she writes that she hopes to see you soon!!!  If I live to see that day, I will be perfectly happy. How are you, my beloved child? I have already written to you through the Red Cross twice and hope to receive the permissible 25 words that you will answer soon.2 Uncle and I live with Mrs. Eckstein and made the second room, which is very roomy, very comfortable for ourselves. The main thing is that we are healthy, thank God, and our dear grandparents, who have been in an old-age home since February 3, are slowly getting used to it. They would prefer to be with Papa; that may be possible in time. Please, dear Giserl, take care of your precious health; that is the most irreplaceable thing in this world, and with God’s help, we will see each other again. I kiss you a thousand times.

                            Your faithful Aunt Gisa


Dear Gisuschka! It is close to the third anniversary of the day that we said good-bye, and I am still here, but [we] know that you are doing well enough and that calms us. Of course, the future belongs to the young; we can’t be young again and would have to work like before – as you certainly know. 

We are healthy, thank God, and hope to remain so, and we wish you the same, as well as luck on your future life path. ---

My brother and his family live close to you, haven't you run into him yet? Farewell and heartfelt greetings from me as well, you brave one!

                            Your Uncle Leopold

[next page]

Dearest Giserl! [followed by Hebrew: letters, hand-written from right to left: Ayin, Mem and Shin]3 I hasten to send you my grandfatherly love and affection. I will tell you in this way since other means, unfortunately, cannot bring us closer, I use my writing to convey all my best wishes and to let you know that we are at the Old-Age Home XIX, Dolding Hohe Warte 32, but in spirit I am with you. I see your image before my eyes and hug you and kiss you with all my heart and remain with special love, your faithful Grandpapa.


[left margin:]

My dearest Gisuschka!

For the time being, many, many kisses from your loyal Papa!4

(Letter follows.)


My dearest Giserl, I just want to tell you in a few words that we think of you very often and unfortunately have gone without your endearing reports for some time. Hopefully you are well. Stay that way and be kissed with all my heart from your Mama Fritzi.



Translated by Anne L. Fox, edited by John Carry and Brian Middleton


1. This composite letter is estimated as being written during the few days in June prior to June 6, 1941, because Leopold states in his section of this letter that it is “close to the day of the year for the third time, that we said good-bye...” (when Nadja departed for Palestine).  Therefore, because Gisella/Nadja left on June 6, 1938, June 1 - 5, 1939, would be close to the day of the year, for the first time, since they said good-bye; June 1 - 5, 1940, the second time/year; and hence, June 1 - 5, 1941 is close to the day of the year for the third time. 

Other hints & evidence that the year of this letter was 1941 (vs. 1940):

•  Gisa (Gisela) writes here that the grandparents have been in an Old Age Home “...since the 3rd of February... This must have been since February 1941, and not 1940, because throughout 1940 there are indications that the grandparents were living together with Gisa in an apartment; e.g., in Gisa’s letter of May 27, 1940, she mentions heating only the grandmother’s room.

•  Gisa’s reference to the Red Cross 25 word letter allowance (see Gisa’s message & footnote #2), and her move to a room in “Mrs. Eckstein’s” apartment (“Mrs. Eckstein” = Mathilde/Nanzie Eckstein, who was Kreindel Eckstein Jellinek’s mother.

•  Gisa and Leopold’s official Meldezettels, filed 12/20/40 in Vienna, report their move to Mathilde Eckstein’s apartment as of 12/20/40.

•  Berta’s worsened eyesight and the improbability of Berta, with her serious diabetic condition and age over 80, surviving from February, 1940 to August, 1941 (when she died) in a Third Reich ‘old-age home.'

•  A sense of greater sadness and loss of hope of seeing Nadja again, in each of the writers’ words and ‘between’ their lines.

2. The crossed-out words above were blacked out in the original German letter, but can be read with extra light and magnification. With the blackened words included (and typed in the following sentence in italics), the German sentence reads: “Ich habe Dir schon 2 mal durch das Rote Kreuz geschrieben und hoffe, das ich auch die erlaubten 25 Worte bald v. Dir als Antwort bekomme.”

3. These Hebrew letters stand for the Hebrew words Ad Mayah Shanim,” which is an expression of good wishes that “may you live for (or till you are) one hundred years.

4. Hugo and Fritzi’s writing on the side of this paper seems most likely to indicate that the letter was originally mailed from Gisa, Leopold, Berta and Siegmund in Vienna, to Hugo and Fritzi in Brünn, and that Hugo in turn sent it on to Nadja in then-Palestine.

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