July 1939 (?)1

Author(s) / Origin of Letter
Recipient(s) / Relationship to Author(s) / Destination of Letter
Summary
Fritzi Fränkel
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Hugo Jellinek (soon-to-be fiancé and husband of FF)
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

These two poems are replete with Fritzi Frankel’s wisdom, wit, playful sense of humor and love for Hugo Jellinek. These poems, along with the five photos in the Image Gallery, of her engagement and wedding to Hugo, are tragically, the main ways the world can know of Fritzi’s existence. Fritzi and Hugo’s romance and marriage in the midst of Nazi occupation and World War, mark them as remarkably courageous, resilient and hopeful. Fritzi’s feelings and circumstances as she composed these rhyming couplets, contrast painfully with her and Hugo’s murder in Auschwitz and Sobibor respectively, less than three years later.

 

2 charming poems that Hugo’s bride,
Mrs. Fritzi Fränkel sent to him.

1. In response to a sonnet dedicated to her:
            Taming the Unruly:
            ---------------------------
If you write another sonnet,
I advise you not at night in bed,
As at night the thoughts are very absurd and without barriers,
Then also, mark this,
Look whom you are confronting.
Don’t be impetuous with the kisses,
One can also enjoy them slowly.
Let modesty reign always.
So love will never grow cold.
Remember well my wishes.
Farewell, oh you, my Jew ! ! ! ! ! !
                                    The Charming One ! ! ! ! ! !

II. Poem, when he was sick one day.
            “Clever One”
            ------------------------
I sit in the room all alone,
Can’t laugh, am almost in tears because my big silly Clever One
Didn’t come to his little wife,2
And “The Golden One” worries so,
Doesn’t enjoy work nor food,
Feels lonely and forgotten.
Thinks only about her Clever One
Who is in bed “without” his little wife
Hopefully he’ll come tomorrow,
At three o’clock, lest I worry,
Get well and stay true to me,
At least until tomorrow at three.
                                    Your Golden One.

 

Translated by Anne L. Fox

Footnotes

1. Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger, in her letter dated Vienna, July 27, 1939, to her niece, Gisella Nadja Jellinek in British Mandate Palestine, included in her praise of Fritzi Fränkel: “How ingenious this woman must be, you can infer from the following two poems that Dad sent me.” It seems very likely, therefore, that Gisela J. S. enclosed Fritzi’s poems in that July 27, 1939 letter to Gisella Nadja. It is also very likely that Gisela J. S. added the comment at the top of the page to explain to Gisella Nadja, that it was Fritzi who wrote the poems and sent them to Gisella Nadja’s father, Hugo. (PJ)

2. The German word “Braut” (bride) is actually a synonym for “Verlobte” (fiancée). And so, perhaps, Fritzi’s referring to herself in this poem as “little wife” was a similar kind of practice used once a couple had lovingly committed to each other and had planned their formal engagement, as Fritzi and Hugo had done. (PJ)