August 8, 1938


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


Max Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek
Berta Schafer Jellinek
                      [Hollabrunn, Austria]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (niece of MJ and GJS, granddaughter of SJ and BSJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

Gisella Nadja’s Uncle Max and Aunt Gisela write brief, but strong, telling statements, such as “Everyone wants to leave but cannot.” Grandparents Siegmund and Berta wish Gisella Nadja God’s blessing and protection.

                                                                  (View German transcription)

                                     August 8, 1938
           Dear Gisl,

       I was very pleased with your letter, but you write too little about your activity. A bit more elaboration on that wouldn’t hurt. Last week I received a letter from Peter Herchl such as I wish you would write me. Send us a factual report, focusing especially on yourself. The situation here is very sad. Everyone wants to leave and cannot. But maybe we will see each other soon in Erez.1 Things are drawing to a close here. Give my best regards to all the members of your Betari group. Maybe I can come soon to join you in the fight.

Many kisses. Your Uncle Max

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My beloved Gisella,

Warmest greetings and kisses from your loving grandmother. ...

I was overjoyed that you remembered me with love. It is my fondest wish that you might always be well and that you get home safely.2 I am glad that you took my [words ?] to heart. I think you would be better off to choose private lodging, where it would be less dangerous. I am very worried about this. And now may God protect you.

Your grandmother, who loves you dearly,


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We are all in very low spirits and not in the mood for anything. Uncle Leopold made a big mistake and gave away the business without being forced to. He gave away the big warehouse in its entirety. I am terribly upset that dear Uncle did not follow my advice. Aunt Anna is enclosing a few little pictures of Trudili for you. I am sending Anna’s picture and Papa’s. We will enclose pictures in every letter. Now farewell. Stay healthy.

A thousand kisses from your faithful aunt,

Gisela [or Gisa]

Dearest Nadja,
Trusting in the self-sacrifice that led you into the land of our fathers with genuine and warm enthusiasm after so many hardships and obstacles, I also hope with all my heart that you will find on hallowed ground the object of your desire: to make and enhance your fortune unhindered by threatening dangers; for fortune

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favors the brave, and you, dear child, face a promising future. Your youth also entitles you to look forward with a spiritual perspective and see your life’s goal crowned with success in the near future. This wish and expectation comes to you with warm greetings and kisses from your grandpapa, who implores the Lord daily to grant you his blessing. Yevarechecha! [God bless you!] Amen
Write to us soon and about more pleasant things!

With Zion’s greetings Oberh[?]3


(View German transcription)

(View German transcription)

(View German transcription)


Translated by Laura Jockusch, edited by Ann Sherwin


1. Max uses Erez here to refer to Palestine. “Erez (or Eretz) Yisrael “ in Hebrew, means “Land of Israel.”

2. This sentence and those following probably indicate that Berta knew and worried about her granddaughter Gisella Nadja’s underground activities against the British. Berta meant that she hoped that Gisella Nadja would return “home” safely to her home in Rishon Le Zion from a dangerous Betar mission, and that “private lodging” was less dangerous than living (and working) collectively with her Betar group.

3. Perhaps Siegmund began to write “Oberhollabrun”, or an abbreviation for this town of Oberhollabrunn, in which he was living at the time, and in which he had lived and served as the Jewish community’s Oberkantor, spiritual leader and religion teacher for many years. It is also possible that these letters were Siegmund's abbreviated or rushed way of signing as "Oberkantor".

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