August 9, 1938

Author(s) / Origin of Letter
Recipient(s) / Relationship to Author(s) / Destination of Letter
Anna Jellinek
    (see Hugo Jellinek’s Bio.)
Siegmund Jellinek
[Hollabrunn, Austria]
Hugo Jellinek
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Hugo Jellinek (Anna’s father, Siegmund’s son)
Berta Jellinek (Anna’s sister, and Siegmund’s grandaughter)
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Siegmund Jellinek (Hugo’s father)
[Hollabrunn, Austria]

Believing that she has a choice, 14 year-old Anna asks her father whether it is better to immigrate to America or to England. Anna criticizes Gisella Nadja’s idealistic Zionism and Betar activism and wants her to abandon Palestine for America. Siegmund believes that Hugo can and will come back to Hollabrunn and be able to sell boxes of merchandise that he left behind when he fled to Czechoslovakia.
In a more realistic vein, Siegmund signs off as “worried” and admits that Gisela has been travelling recently between Stockerau, Vienna and Hollabrunn. However, he omits the dire reasons. Anna perceives zero prospects for future peace in Mandatory Palestine, and also lovingly urges her father to spend more money on himself in order to be better nourished and healthier.


[page 1., written by Anna Jellinek]

August 9, 38

Dear Daddy! dear Bertarl!1
First of all, I greet you warmly and share with you
that [we] are all in good health and that we are hoping the same
for you.
Dear Daddy, you are writing in your letter that I should
go to the sanatorium in . . . . . , but this is really
unnecessary; physically, I am completely healthy.
But, if you absolutely want me to go, please write to the dear aunt;
she should go to see the doctor with me,
since we do not have to pay him.
This would be even better, I think, because if
I have something, God-forbid,I could always go there.
I am going to send you some brand new
pictures of me, you'll see, I look
quite good.
For the meantime, I am staying here, following
your advice. By the end of the week, I will
certainly go to aunt Stella,
in order to learn with her to cook appetizingly.
I ask you not to send me to aunt Anna, because
I have already learned the fundamental principle of baby care
in school and the rest is
common sense anyway.

(View German transcription)

[page 2.]

A ten-page letter from dear Nadja arrived.
Have you already received it?
We replied immediately and
we sent her pictures (but all of Trude).
How are you dear Fuchsi?2 Save your strength a little
and take good care of yourself.
What do you think of going to Palestine?
I do not [think it is a good idea] because there will never be peace and order
By the way, do you know that Mrs. Dyzek is going to
A. [merica?] and she is certainly going to make a request for me to come.
Daddy and Bertl, I now have the prospect of a permit to Am [America] or En [England];
which will be the best?
Dear Daddy, please do not economize so much!
Get yourself something nutritious;
above all, one has to be healthy these days,
and I have a feeling that you are not well,
[that you are] at the least, undernourished! Please
do not save for us so much; we will
somehow manage to earn our living,
since all three of us are quite capable.
Dear Daddy, dear Fuchsi! please write to

(View German transcription)

[page 3.]

Nadja in a nice way; she should rather go to Am [America] with Pauli!3
Why should she be toiling, starving and fighting all her life,
since she does not have a goal there either, and that she cannot accept. ( to work for Jews,
by the way, is a thankless task)4. And why does she have to be with the
Betarim5, who are the detested ones of the country!! Thus, old Daddy and sister,
I am relying on you! Write to me soon. I am going to bake something for you this week,
and dear Daddy, I will send you my school bag.
Many kisses and regards,
waiting for [your] reply. A. [Anna]

[written by Siegmund Jellinek]
Dear Hugo & Bertuschka!
When I wrote some weeks ago
that I am thinking of selling these boxes
stored in the small room,
you wrote in anticipation of a
reproach, that we were already waiting for the
money6 -- and only
now, you yourself are encouraging
what I meant to do already weeks ago,
do you understand
[Response written by Hugo Jellinek to his father, Siegmund Jellinek]7
I have worked out a plan
how I can at least get a part of my
money, and that I cannot
write to my people here.

(View German transcription)

[page 4.]

and it seems that
in the afternoon you have already
forgotten what you intended in the
morning, which has
never been the case with your father.
But enough! Sell
the things by yourself when you come back.
I am enclosing a prescription
as well as a
letter from Willy8 which
should have crossed the letter
from his mother to him.
Apart from that, some lines
from Hans for Bertuschka.
For today without something more,
I remain with
heartfelt greetings to everyone,
your worried father and grandfather.
Gisela was in Stockerau on Monday, and today,
Tuesday, she is in Vienna and will come to us this evening
and will
[Page 4., left margin]
write a toast to your health. Have you already received the 20 RM
via the grandmother of Yarno?
Answer [!]

(View German transcription)


Translated by Laura Jockusch, edited by Barbara Sommerschuh, Gerhard Koerth, Brigitte Balkow and Ursula Eckelmann of Sütterlinstube, Hamburg, Germany.


1. “Bertharl,” “Fuchsi” and “Bertushka” are all affectionate nicknames for “Berta.”

2. Fuchsi was one of affectionate, diminutive nicknames for Anny’s sister, Berta Jellinek, b. 1922.

3. Pauli was probably Nadja’s boyfriend at the time, or possibly only a good friend and fellow member of Nadja’s Betar unit in Rishon Le Zion.

4. This surprising anti-semitic statement may have been fueled by Anna’s dissatisfaction with her employers.

5. Betarim = members of the youth branch of the Revisionist Zionist movement, founded by and on the principles of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky (1880 - 1940).

6. Siegmund means that in his letter, he only mentioned that he was thinking of selling the boxes, but that Hugo in his answer, already criticized this idea, asking whether Siegmund was already waiting for the money. [LJ ] This enigmatic exchange between Siegmund and Hugo about the sale of “boxes” reveals clearly, at least, that both Siegmund and Hugo knew that there was a risk of censorship of their letters: Siegmund did not include whatever merchandise was in the “boxes” and Hugo, subsequently, only cryptically alluded to a plan to regain some of his money, but did not provide any details. [PJ]

7. Hugo wrote this short message in the left margin of page 3. After receiving Hugo’s response, Siegmund or Anna passed on this entire composite letter to Gisella Nadja Jellinek in Mandatory Palestine.

8. Willy Jellinek, who was already imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp, was the only son of Oscar and Berta Jellinek, and the grandson of Siegmund Jellinek’s sister, Jetti Jellinek. Jetti, (who kept her maiden name of Jelinek) was Oscar’s mother.