June 3, 19391


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


Gisella Nadja Jellinek
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

Hugo Jellinek (father of G/NJ)
                       [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja lovingly advises and entreats her father and sisters regarding urgent plans for them (and Aunt Gisela) to emigrate to British Mandate Palestine, despite the severe British restrictions. Gisella Nadja longs for them all to join her in Rishon Le Zion, where she has already been living for a year.


                                                                          Rishon Le Zion 3. VI. 1939

              My dear sweet Daddy!

Daddy, my beloved, please don’t be annoyed that I have not written for such a long time; I did not have stamps or paper; now I have scrounged them up. I am very well indeed!! You too, Daddy? Are you all in good health? I am on a holiday for 14 days and I am relaxing thoroughly sitting at home. It is white hot outside and during the daytime I only reluctantly peek outside, although the tropical heat does not do me any harm. I can tell you something political: the situation is getting increasingly critical. Everyday there are dead on the part of the British and the Arabs, and unfortunately there are also many dead on our part, but sadly, it is unavoidable. In the harbor, there are three ships with illegal [immigrants], but they will be admitted to the country. I want to advise my two sweet sisters to pack as quickly as possible and come here. Do not laugh, I am serious. You have certainly read about the White Book,2 which was published two weeks ago. According to this, there is a five-year plan (Engl.) restricting Jewish immigration to not more than 75,000 people over five years. That is such nonsense, we say; in this year alone, that many will come over, but meanwhile we do not talk about it, because we have so much to do. . . . The illegal immigrants are added to these 75,000, and therefore I would advise Putzi and Bertl to come here.3 It is probably less favorable for Putzi because it is terribly hot here, and our Mefaked4 wants to let Puzili come over on a certificate, only in November, of course. It’s like this: our Mefaked said that he would do everything for us and as he is going to Rumania in November, he wants to marry Putzi in a faked marriage. For you, dear Daddy, he wants to write a Russian letter.5 But Bertl could come immediately and initially she could stay with me in the kibbutz in Rishon. She needs to have a letter from the Hechalutz6 in Brünn, and she also has to send the notarized pictures; I will take care of the rest here. The journey is not dangerous now; it is much faster and it is as good as legal. You, beloved Dad, may not come now, but Aunt Gisl could easily come over, for 75,000 are allowed to come here. I am going to write to beloved Aunt [Gisl] very soon, for in any case, she must not go to Australia!!!! We also need a mother here in Palestine and not Trudi! She already has a good mother and two are a luxury! Bertl should prepare herself and her things, simply cook and learn English, and if she has the time, Hebrew, too. She should make inquiries about the expenses with Betar, and say that her sister has already been in Erez for a year, and it will be fine. I shall write soon again, but I want to wait and see the fate of these three ships. Last night, women and children were let down. Vatili [Daddy], the Mefaked, Mr. Lipa, will surely apply for you, for he already applied for his own parents. I shall also send pictures of myself in my next letter, and I would like some pictures of you too. What are my sweet, beautiful sisters doing? Tell them to write me; I shall answer immediately and in detail. Do not be worried about me, I am very well; I would like to hear good news and much of it from you; I am always so worried about you.

Millions of adoring kisses for you, my beloved dear Daddy, and for my sweet sisters whom I love above all else.

Your loyal Nadja7

Translated by Laura Jockusch, edited by Brian Middleton


1. This typed letter from Gisella Nadja Jellinek to her father, Hugo Jelllinek (with its additional handwritten note at the bottom of the page from Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger to her sister, Anna Jellinek Nadel), appears on the front side of the one sheet of thin paper. A separate letter from Gisela J. S. to her sister, Anna J. N., dated June 21, 1939, is on the reverse side.

Most probably, Hugo Jellinek sent his sister, Gisela J. S., the handwritten letter he had received from his daughter, Gisella Nadja Jellinek. Gisela J. S. typed up Gisella Nadja J.‘s letter and handwrote her note to her sister, Anna J. N., on the bottom of the page, indicating that the above letter was from their niece, “Gisa” (a shortened form of Gisella [Nadja]). Then Gisela J. S. proceeded to type her own letter to Anna J. N. on the reverse side of the same paper, using the same typewriter. Some time later, Gisella Nadja, in turn, received this sheet of paper containing both letters on opposite sides of the same sheet of paper, from Anna J. N. Finally, Gisella Nadja gave me, Paulette J., this same original sheet of paper in 1999.

2. Nadja is referring here to the “Palestine White Paper” issued by the British government on May 17, 1939.

3. Nadja means that there will be more immigrants than 75,000 anyway and the illegal immigrants are not included, so that her sisters, Anna/Putzi and Berta/Bertl, should just try to come over irrespective of the restrictions. (LJ)

4. Commander, chief of staff.

5. It is not clear what is meant by a “Russian letter” – probably just a letter in Russian. (LJ)
Or perhaps it was related in some way to Hugo’s having been a wounded prisoner-of-World War I in Uzbekistan, and his having remained in the Soviet Union with his three daughters until 1930? (PJ)

6. Hebrew word meaning “pioneer”; in this context, a reference to a Zionist organization that would have assisted Berta and other new Jewish emigrants reach and develop Palestine.

7. At the bottom of this typed page are a few lines of handwritten words from Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger. [please see footnote #1. above for fuller explanation of the placement of this message]

The German words that are clearly legible (and their translation below) have been underlined:

Liebe Anny, obiger Brief ist von Gisa
ich habe meinem Fdn
[?] eine Reparation Versuch(s) stappler [?] kam recht
. . ? . . les] [or ] [sellerpf . . ? . . les ] [or] [pettersche [ . . ? . . lesn ] [??]
Küsse Gisa

Dear Anny, the above letter is from Gisa
I have to/for my [?] a reparation try/trial [?] came right

The following is an extrapolation by Brian Middleton, of the middle lines, based on the words that were legible, beginning with the German “ich habe . . . “ [English: “I have . . . “].
I have sent my friends [?] a reparation to the case officer and it arrived [or came] . . .? . . .
Kisses, Gisa

Reparation” may refer to a forced payment that Gisela J. S. made to the “Aryan trustee” (who had taken over Miron and Anna J. Nadel’s photography business) to try to obtain the release of Miron’s photo equipment, which was confiscated after the November 9-10, 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom. (cf. Gisela J. S.‘s letter of January 12 and June 21, 1939, and Karl Jellinek’s letter of September 2-5, 1939). Or “reparation” could refer to the compulsory “1000 [Reich] Marks Judenabgabe” [Jew tax] imposed by the Nazis, that Gisela J. S. wrote about with dismay in her June 12, 1939 letter to Gisella Nadja J.

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