August 6, 1938

Author(s) / Origin of Letter
Recipient(s) / Relationship to Author(s) / Destination of Letter
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
[Hollabrunn, Austria]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (niece of GJS)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

This letter reveals the persecution that Gisela, the rest of the extended Jellinek family and their Jewish friends are experiencing. The most significant disclosures are: that she and her husband received “nothing” for the forced sale of their store, that they had to pay 350 RM, that they and all of the family are now very poor, and that several relatives and friends have emigrated from Austria. Gisela also expresses strong fear for the safety of her niece, Gisella Nadja, in British Mandate Palestine.


(View German Transcription)

My beloved Giserl, August 6, 1938

Today is your birthday and I would have loved
to congratulate you personally1.
Hopefully you have at least
received the parcel which Pauli
and aunt Anny sent you.
You are relieved from the worst need,
and with the next opportunity, we will send you
another parcel with the dress you requested, etc.
Papa wrote that I should procure a passport for Putzi [? 2]
because she should come to Czechoslovakia.
Papa thinks she should go to a sanatorium
because of her lung, but this is not necessary,
because, first of all, we are all very poor now.
Uncle Poldi had to sell the wonderful store
for nothing, and we had to pay
350 RM. And secondly, thank God, Anny
is now very healthy and feels very well as long as
the Tiefenbrunns are living here.
She goes up there as soon as she is done with her work
and learns English vocabulary.
However, Trudili has been here with us for three weeks
and therefore Anny does not find time to learn,
but she will certainly catch up.
The siblings of Mrs. Tiefenbrunn
have all already left. Mrs. Dr. Kamsky
with family in London – later to America.

(View German Transcription)

[page 2.]
Aunt Lola is in Holland and off to
America too. Both Ingemann [?] brothers
are also already abroad, thank God.
Uncle Karl and aunt Karla come here to see
Michaela every Sunday and
aunt Anny also comes to visit her child.3
Uncle Miron visits Truderl once a week.
She has been with us for three weeks.
Today she [Truderl]
is going to Vienna with her mother [Anny J. N.]
to see Dr. Bauer about
Truderl’s check up.
She’ll come back with a nanny.
Gisa, I am so worried about you,
since we read so much about Palestine in the newspapers here.
Please, be very careful and do
not do any overly brave feat, because we
are trembling [with fear] for you. I am happy that
you are so diligent in housekeeping,
and that you recognize that Grandma
taught you a lot; now you recognize
that Grandma was right
and that your rebelliousness
was out of place.

[letter discontinued]

(View German Transcription)


Translation by Laura Jockusch; edited by Brian Middletown, as well as
Brigitte Balkow and Ursula Eckelmann of Sütterlinstube, Hamburg, Germany


1. The content, as well as the handwriting and tone, clearly identify this letter writer as Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger.

2. Although this word in Gisela’s hand-written letter, looked more like “Sates” or possibly “Putes,” than “Putzi” to the Sütterlinstube transcribers, a reading of “Putzi” (a nickname for 15 year-old Anny, the youngest of Hugo Jellinek’s three daughters) makes the most sense in the context of this sentence and the following one, as well as in the next four sentences, which refer to “she” and then “Anny .”Hugo would probably have thought that the sanitorium that Anny/Putzi needed, should be in Czechoslovakia, where Hugo was then living, and which had not yet been taken over by the Nazis. Hugo therefore asked his sister, Gisela, to obtain the necessary passport for Anny/Putzi, so that she could exit from the Third Reich’s Austria and gain admission to Czechoslovakia.

It is also worth noting that the Sütterlin transcribers did concede that because Gisela was writing quickly and mixing Sütterlin script with Latin letters. Gisela could have made an inadvertent mistake in her writing of the letters of “Putzi.” Additionally, the name “Sates” does not appear in any other extant letter in the collection of Jellinek family correspondence and is unknown to living Jellinek descendants.

3. Michaela, almost a year-old at this time, is the daughter of Gisela’s brother and sister-in-law, Karl and Karla E. Jellinek. Trude (here referred to by diminutive versions of her name, Trudel and Truderl) is also about a year-old, and is the daughter of Gisela’s sister and brother-in-law, Anny Jellinek Nadel and Miron Nadel. Dr. Bauer was treating a problem with Trude’s feet and her inability to stand.