Letter Index by Author
(view letters by chronology)
 

N.B.  The names of cities are spelled in the ways that the letter-writers wrote them. The names of the European countries listed, are the countries in which the cities were located before union with, occupation or control by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, or before the post-WWII establishment of the state of Israel.

Mathilde/Manzie E. Eckstein

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

Summary

Mathilde/Manzie E. Eckstein
                            [Vienna, Austria]

Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek (daughter of ME)
                         [New York City]
Mathilde/Manzie, having just learned of the death of her infant grandson/her daughter, Kreindel/Karla’s son, expresses her deep sympathy, empathy, love and compassion, as well as motherly urging for her daughter to remain courageous and strong. Regarding her own escape from the Nazis and reunification in the US, Mathilde reveals only her intense, but patient hope and longing, along with her impatience with learning English. Finally, Mathilde reports on key family members’ changed living arrangements.


Anna Jellinek

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

Summary

Anna Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (sister of AJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Fifteen-year-old Anna humorously describes her new, somewhat onerous job as a live-in servant in Brünn. She also writes about the “irresponsible” behavior of her sister, Berta, and requests that Nadja write to her, but not worry about her.

Anna Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (sister of AJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Sixteen year-old Anna writes with optimism and excitement about her and her cousin Erich’s prospects of getting to Palestine and reuniting with Gisella Nadja there. Anna also writes of the positive effects on the family of her father’s new relationship with the generous, sophisticated Mrs. Fränkel. The reader of Anna’s letter, who knows about the 1942 Nazi murders of Anna, her sister, Berta, her father, Hugo, and Mrs. Fränkel, will also find all of the other statements in Anna’s letter heartbreakingly poignant, including her statements of pride about her getting used to her work as a maid, her newfound strength and appearance and her thanking God for not being hungry anymore.

 

 

Berta Jellinek

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

Summary

August 28, 1938
(Est.)

Berta Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (sister of BJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Berta writes lofty, idealistic 18th birthday wishes for her older sister Gisella Nadja, and for herself too. Berta also gives a spirited report of her recent bicycle accident, symbolic resistance, work and studies.

 


Berta Schafer Jellinek

 

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

Summary

Max Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek
Berta Schafer Jellinek
              [Oberhollabrunn, 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.
August 11, 1939

Siegmund Jellinek

Berta Schafer Jellinek
                            [Vienna, Austria]

Karl and Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek
(son/daughter-in-law of SJ and BSJ)
                              [New York City, USA]

Siegmund and Berta are each reassured by news that Karl, his wife and daughter have settled into a new apartment. Siegmund prints the Hebrew letters of the blessing for affixing a mezzuzah and for expressing gratitude for having reached this moment of security. He expresses longing to be together again and hopes that “eventual overriding righteousness” will allow him to “live through these times.”

Berta adds her concerns for three of her other children: Max, Siegfried and Anna. She also encourages Karla, who is pregnant, and writes of Siegmund’s and her own good health and of her feeling warmly towards Karla’s mother.

June 1-5, 1941
(Est.)
Berta Schafer Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Leopold Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek

                              [Vienna, Austria]
Hugo Jellinek
Fritzi Fränkel

                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (granddaughter of BSJ and SJ, niece of GJS and LS, daughter of HJ, stepdaughter of FF)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Sad, final messages from each of the letter writers, including from Gisella Nadja's own father. Each close relative seems to try to reassure him/herself and Gisella Nadja of his/her fate and expresses love and yearning to be together again.

 

Gisella Nadja Jellinek

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

Summary

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.


Hugo Jellinek

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

Summary

July 26, 1938 Hugo Jellinek

                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
In this earliest extant letter from Hugo to his eldest daughter, he writes lovingly and hopefully about their being spiritually “forever and inseparably connected,” and of his confidence in the entire family’s reunion in British Mandate Palestine by ca. 1940. Hugo tells his eldest daughter about the difficult housing, economic (and interpersonal) circumstances in Brünn with which he, his daughter, Berta, and other poor emigrés and refugees are coping. Despite these kinds of hardships, however, Hugo wishes the rest of his family could be with him in Brünn, rather than being subject to the frightening threats and persecution in Nazi-occupied Vienna. He notes that Willy, the son of Hugo’s first cousin, Oskar Jellinek, is imprisoned in Dachau, and that Oskar is virtuously trying to help and rescue Willy. Hugo shares his thoughts about the “…agonizing situation of the Jews,… ” the Jewish people’s failure to “… hear Herzl’s call 46 years ago… ” and the urgent current need for “… a country of our own… ” and a “… genius of a leader…” Hugo also writes about his daughter Berta’s job difficulties, his worry over her social life and over his daughter Anna’s plea to bring her to Brünn. Lastly, he writes about his inspiration from a new friend, Theresa Spitz, and his enjoyment of Friday night services at a local synagogue.
August 21, 1938 Hugo Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella/Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Hugo begins this long letter to his eighteen-year-old daughter, Nadja Gisella, with strong praise of her and loving birthday wishes. The remainder of the eight pages is mostly full of bitter, poignantly perceptive, prescient, political, intertwined with personal observations and predictions; e.g., a.) foretelling the doom of the Jews of Czechoslovakia if Hitler invaded the country successfully, b.) recognizing that many of the local Czech Jews were not aware that they were in the same imminent danger as the Jewish refugees from Austria, Germany and the Czech Sudeten region, and c.) being alert to both K. Henlein and J. Streicher’s powerful and dangerous influences. Only Hugo’s strongly expressed belief that the Czech nation would fight Hitler “to the last drop of blood” was tragically not borne out.

October 14, 1938

Hugo Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Hugo expresses outrage and despair re: the disastrous betrayals and appeasement at the Munich Conference, and the ensuing brutal persecution of Jewish and non-Jewish Czechs in the ceded Sudeten region. Hugo strongly commends Nadja for her heroic part in the fight for freedom of British Mandate Palestine. He concludes this long letter with positive, personal family news, including praise of his new friend, Therese Spitz.
Hugo Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

Hugo shares prescient, mostly gloomy thoughts with his eldest daughter, writing that humans can be made into beasts much more easily than the other way around, and that Nazis are casually, and merrily “… robbing, burning murdering [and] fighting - …” just as the criminal band of outlaws did in Friedrich Schiller's 1781 play The Robbers. Hugo also worries about Czechoslovakia's new president, Dr. Hácha and about Czechoslovakia's granting of asylum and citizenship to Jewish refugees.

Hugo begs Gisella Nadja to write to her sixteen-year-old sister, Berta, detailing her life in Mandate Palestine and urging Berta to register with the Betar Zionist youth organization. Hugo also includes news of the good health and spirits of Gisella Nadja's two younger sisters, their kind and generous new friend, Teresa Spitz, and the robbing of a group of young Jewish Betar members on their way to Mandate Palestine.

Hugo Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisella Nadja Jellinek (his eldest daughter, b. 1920)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

After expressing gratitude for 50th birthday greetings from Gisella Nadja and from other close family and special friends, Hugo bitterly predicts the further conquest of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis and their ability to “eliminate and strangle” the Jews in Europe, with the “applause and approval of the rest of the ‘civilized’ world.” Hugo denounces the Nazi “beasts in human form,” who, after taking over Sudentenland a few months earlier, had begun to oppress and frighten all Czech Jews. He also condemns the betrayal by Jewish communists and other “assimilation-socialists” against their own (Jewish) people. He extols members of the Zionist group Betar, (of which Gisella Nadja was an active member) for their great courage, organization and discipline as they fight for an independent Jewish homeland in [British Mandate] Palestine. Lastly, Hugo praises and provides some news about Bertha and Anna, his younger daughters, whom he still believes will be able to get to Palestine.

Hugo Jellinek
Fritzi Fränkel
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ,
future stepdaughter of FF)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Hugo expresses great admiration and burgeoning love for Fritzi Fränkel, but anger and pain re: Brünn’s recent occupation by the Nazis, and the change in his personal situation from distinguished, brave WWI Austrian soldier, who impartially helped all of his fellow soldiers, to persecuted and reviled Jew. Also, details of Hugo’s as well as Berta and Anna’s daily life in Brünn, and Fritizi expresses warm interest in Gisella Nadja.
Hugo Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Praise for Gisella Nadja’s and other Betar group members’ ongoing heroic work to build a Jewish homeland, contrasted with European Jewry’s humiliated status as “unwilling martyrs.” Positive personal news including Hugo’s deepening relationship with Fritzi Fränkel, and fatherly pride in Berta and Anna’s work and well-being.
January 31, 1940
Hugo Jellinek
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Short greetings added by
Fritzi Fränkel (Hugo’s new wife)
Aunt Else (may be Hugo’s cousin or aunt, unknown to us)
Heinz Rosenzweig (Fritzi’s nephew)
Anna Jellinek (aka Putzi and Lussinka)
                [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Siegmund Jellinek (father of HJ, father-in-law of FF, grandfather of AJ)
Berta Schafer Jellinek (mother of HJ, mother-in-law of FF, grandmother of AJ)
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger (sister of HJ, sister-in-law of FF, aunt of AJ)
Leopold (aka Poldi) Schlesinger (brother-in-law of HJ, and FF, uncle of AJ)
                                [Vienna, Austria]
This is the sole, extant example of Hugo’s writing as a son, rather than as a father. Though limited in writing space, this postcard still shows a son’s challenging his father’s judgement as well as seeming to desire his father’s approbation. Hugo reports on family problems, as well as praiseworthy characteristics of his youngest daughter, Anna/Lussinka and of Heinz, his new nephew by his marriage to Fritizi. All of the above, combined with Hugo’s coded, cryptic and metaphoric references, e.g., “Bolavan,” “appropriate season,” also reveal Hugo’s current bitter political understanding, as well as his strained and constrained life as a Jewish refugee under Nazi rule.
June 6, 1941
(Est.)
Berta Schafer Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Leopold Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek

                              [Vienna, Austria]
Hugo Jellinek
Fritzi Fränkel

                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (granddaughter of BSJ and SJ, niece of GJS and LS, daughter of HJ, stepdaughter of FF)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Sad, final messages from each of the letter writers, including from Gisella Nadja's own father. Each close relative seems to try to reassure him/herself and Gisella Nadja of his/her fate and expresses love and yearning to be together again.

 


Karl Jellinek

 

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

Summary

Early July - Early August,
1938
(Est.)

Karl Jellinek

Karla/Kreindel E. Jellinek
                              [Vienna, Austria]

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

Karl warns Nadja of the dangers of close-minded and extreme views and of ‘in-fighting’ generally, in the “building up” of a Jewish state. Karl also writes that “Here in Vienna, it is not good, and I don’t think we can stay."

Karla (in the only extant letter from her to Nadja) similarly chides Nadja about her expression of negative prejudice against Jews from Poland, especially at that time of the burgeoning in-gathering of Jews from all over the world.

Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Karl Jellinek
                              [Vienna, Austria]

Hugo Jellinek (brother of GJS and KJ)
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisela, her husband, Poldi, their family members and neighbors are struggling with the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish persecution, such as the forced, demeaning take-overs of their businesses and apartments. In her long, detailed letter, we mainly read of Gisela’s anguished responses to events, as well as her practical efforts to help her nieces, siblings, cousins and parents cope with the new harsh reality. Gisela also reports on her attempts to maintain some semblance of the old order and values, such as her intent to obtain her old piano for daily practice with her young niece Anna.

Karl’s shorter letter contains equally powerful, ominous signs concerning the “unsustainable” situation for him and relatives in Vienna. The significant good news in both of these letters is about Karl’s receipt of requisite affidavits from the USA, as well as a Merit Certificate for admission to Mandate Palestine, Gustav Jellinek and Miron Nadel’s emigration prospects, and the receipt of Gisella Nadja Jellinek’s letters from Mandate Palestine.

March 5, 1939
(Typed copy of Karl Jellinek’s speech delivered on board the Dutch ship “Veendam”)

 

Karl Jellinek
          [on ship to US from Holland]

(Probably typed by Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger)
                              [Vienna, Austria]


Theresa (Resl) Spitz (additional hand-written greetings)

                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Hugo Jellinek (brother of KJ)
Theresa (Resl) Spitz
(friend of HJ)
                        [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]


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

Karl Jellinek’s impassioned speech opening a Purim celebration held on board a ship to the US from Holland.  Karl expresses strong belief in the eventual rescue of all of his relatives and of all persecuted Jews in Europe, and in the need for unity and cooperation of all Jews in the building of the Jewish homeland in British Mandate Palestine. (Additional hand-written greetings added after text of speech by 'Resl' Spitz.)

Karl Jellinek
                    [New York City, USA]

Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger (sister of KJ)
Leopold (Poldi) Schlesinger (brother-in-law of KJ)

Siegmund Jellinek (father of KJ)
Berta S. Jellinek
(mother of KJ)

Siegfried Jellinek (brother of KJ)
Martha H. Jellinek
(sister-in-law of KJ)
                                   [Vienna, Austria]

Karl is still optimistic about the rescue of his family from Nazi-Austria and the family’s eventual reunion in New York. Details of marvelous amenities built-in and bargain purchases for his New York apartment, housework, Karl’s sending family members affidavits, resumed Zionist organization activities, visits from relatives, new friends, former Zionist fraternity brothers, and to his “sunchild” infant daughter.

September 2-5, 1939

(Est.)

Karl Jellinek
                     [New York City, USA]
Siegmund Jellinek (father of KJ)
Berta S. Jellinek (mother of KJ)
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
(sister of KJ)
                                   [Vienna, Austria]

Karl has read about the outbreak of war in the New York Times, but he maintains his hope for his family’s reunion in America. He is studying English and hopes to earn more money soon and be able to take better care of his second child. He chides Gisela for her inappropriate sentimentality during “this worldwide inferno.” Also, family news, including re: Max’s affidavit and Michaela’s good development.



Karla/Kreindel E. Jellinek

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

Summary

Early July - Early August,
1938
(Est.)

Karl Jellinek

Karla/Kreindel E. Jellinek
                              [Vienna, Austria]

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

Karl warns Nadja of the dangers of close-minded and extreme views and of ‘in-fighting’ generally, in the “building up” of a Jewish state. Karl also writes that “Here in Vienna, it is not good, and I don’t think we can stay."

Karla (in the only extant letter from her to Nadja) similarly chides Nadja about her expression of negative prejudice against Jews from Poland, especially at that time of the burgeoning in-gathering of Jews from all over the world.



Max Jellinek

 

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

Summary

Max Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek
Berta Schafer Jellinek
              [Oberhollabrunn, 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.
October 18, 1938

Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger

Max Jellinek
                              [Vienna, Austria]

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

Gisela first gives mostly positive details about the family, such as the improved circumstances for Gisela’s brother Hugo and Hugo’s younger daughters (Nadja’s father and sisters, resp.) in Brno, Czechoslovakia, Gisela’s brother Karl’s receipt of an affidavit and the satisfactory adjustment to living in an apartment in Vienna by Gisela’s parents as well as by herself. It is only in the second half of this letter that Gisela voices personal complaints at having had to move ‘three times already since March’ and about the ‘terrible’ most recent forced move out of Hollabrunn. Still, Gisela voices hope for an eventual family reunion and for the continued good health of everyone in the family. 

The overall adapting, coping and almost accepting tone and contents of this letter may reflect Gisela’s personal optimism and faith, as well as her lack of knowledge of and ability to grasp what the current persecution portended for even worse conditions to come. Gisela’s fear of the Nazi censors and her desire to shield Nadja from the entire dire truth may also have influenced her writing.

Max’s pithy greeting is one of encouragement and inspiration for Nadja and her comrades’ Zionist endeavors.

May 16, 1939
Max Jellinek
                            [Shanghai, China]

Karl and Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek
(brother/sister-in-law of MJ)
                              [New York City, USA]
Max describes the poverty, hunger, unsanitary living conditions, illness, theft, fraud and official corruption in Shanghai. He despairs over the dim prospect of seeing his loved ones again, getting to British Mandate Palestine, and improving his economic situation or his health.

 


Siegfried Jellinek

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

Siegfried Jellinek
                               [Lwów, Poland]

Karl and Karla E. Jellinek
(brother/sister-in-law of SJ)
                         [New York City, USA]
Siegfried pleads with his brother, Karl, to try to save his wife, Martha and their 16 year-old son, Erich, from increasing Nazi persecution. He asks Karl to try to bring Martha and Erich to New York, or at least, to obtain ship’s passage for them.
Although Siegfried expresses resignation at his own precarious ‘stateless’, dependent and isolated situation in Lwów, he also maintains “the fervent wish to hold out” and that ‘spring’ will return.
Siegfried also conveys concerned and loving greetings to the entire family.

Siegfried Jellinek
                               [Lwów, Poland]

Karl Jellinek (brother of SJ)
                         [New York City, USA]
Deep sympathy and empathy for the death of Karl and Karla’s infant son, Bernhard. Information on longed-for correspondence received (or not) from family.  Entreaties re: Karl’s bringing Siegfried, and/or his wife, Martha, and their son Erich to the US.

 


Siegmund Jellinek

 

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

Summary

Max Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek
Berta Schafer Jellinek
              [Oberhollabrunn, 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.
August 11, 1939

Siegmund Jellinek

Berta Schafer Jellinek
                            [Vienna, Austria]

Karl and Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek
(son/daughter-in-law of SJ and BSJ)
                              [New York City, USA]

Siegmund and Berta are each reassured by news that Karl, his wife and daughter have settled into a new apartment. Siegmund prints the Hebrew letters of the blessing for affixing a mezzuzah and for expressing gratitude for having reached this moment of security. He expresses longing to be together again and hopes that “eventual overriding righteousness” will allow him to “live through these times.”

Berta adds her concerns for three of her other children: Max, Siegfried and Anna. She also encourages Karla, who is pregnant, and writes of Siegmund’s and her own good health and of her feeling warmly towards Karla’s mother.

June 6, 1941
(Est.)
Berta Schafer Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Leopold Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek

                              [Vienna, Austria]
Hugo Jellinek
Fritzi Fränkel

                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (granddaughter of BSJ and SJ, niece of GJS and LS, daughter of HJ, stepdaughter of FF)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Sad, final messages from each of the letter writers, including from Gisella Nadja's own father. Each close relative seems to try to reassure him/herself and Gisella Nadja of his/her fate and expresses love and yearning to be together again.

 


Anna Jellinek Nadel

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

Anna Jellinek Nadel
                    [Woolahra, an eastern
          suburb of Sydney, Australia]

Karl and Karla Jellinek

(brother/sister-in-law of AJN)
                         [New York City]

Anna writes of still mourning the (1941) loss of her mother and of her feared loss of her older siblings, Gisela and Hugo, and of Hugo’s younger daughters. However, Anna also expresses hope and faith that her siblings and nieces may still be alive and that she will be able to save them. In addition, Anna mentions some aspects of her current life in Australia, such as the family’s good health and their celebration of Mother’s Day.



Leonore Schafer

 

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

Summary

Leonore Schafer
Charlotte Schafer
                              [Vienna, Austria]
Anna Jellinek Nadel (first cousin of LS, niece of CS)
                                [Sydney, Australia]
Much appreciation for Anna and Miron’s check and letter. Requests confirmation of Siegfried Jellinek’s survival. This update, after 13 years of no contact, includes information re: her own and her parents’ imprisonment in Theresienstadt; the tragic fate of Anna’s parents, Siegmund and Berta, Anna’s brother Hugo, sister-in-law Fritzi, and nieces Berta and Anna, as well as the disappointment, difficulties and poverty in Charlotte and Leonore’s post-war life in Vienna, graves/ashes...and more.

 


Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger

 

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

Summary

Max Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek
Berta Schafer Jellinek
              [Oberhollabrunn, 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.
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Karl Jellinek
                              [Vienna, Austria]

Hugo Jellinek (brother of GJS and KJ)
[Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisela, her husband, Poldi, their family members and neighbors are struggling with the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish persecution, such as the forced, demeaning take-overs of their businesses and apartments. In her long, detailed letter, we mainly read of Gisela’s anguished responses to events, as well as her practical efforts to help her nieces, siblings, cousins and parents cope with the new harsh reality. Gisela also reports on her attempts to maintain some semblance of the old order and values, such as her intent to obtain her old piano for daily practice with her young niece Anna.

Karl’s shorter letter contains equally powerful, ominous signs concerning the “un-sustainable” situation for him and relatives in Vienna. The significant good news in both of these letters is about Karl’s receipt of requisite affidavits from the USA, as well as a Merit Certificate for admission to Mandate Palestine, Gustav Jellinek and Miron Nadel’s emigration prospects, and the receipt of Gisella Nadja Jellinek’s letters from Mandate Palestine.
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
                             [Vienna, Austria]

Hugo Jellinek (brother of GJS)
                                   [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisela reveals the toll of Nazi anti-Jewish persecution on the Jelinek family, their friends and neighbors. Some examples she reports are: the take-over of her husband Leopold’s business, the confiscation of every Jewish person’s home, including their own, in Stockerau and the need to support her young cousin, Willy Jellinek, who is imprisoned in Dachau. In addition, she, her husband, her parents and all Jewish residents of Hollabrunn are being forcibly expelled to Vienna. Gisela must prepare everything for her family’s rushed move, as well as help Hugo’s youngest daughter/her niece, Anna, move from Hollabrunn to Brünn to join Hugo.
October 18, 1938

Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger

Max Jellinek
                              [Vienna, Austria]

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

Gisela first gives mostly positive details about the family, such as the improved circumstances of her brother Hugo and Hugo’s younger daughters (Nadja’s father and sisters, resp.) in Brno, Czechoslovakia, Gisela’s brother Karl’s receipt of an affidavit and the satisfactory adjustment to living in an apartment in Vienna by Gisela’s parents as well as by herself. It is only in the second half of this letter that Gisela voices personal complaints at having had to move ‘three times already since March’ and about the ‘terrible’ most recent forced move out of Hollabrunn. Still, Gisela voices hope for an eventual family reunion and for the continued good health of everyone in the family. 

The overall adapting, coping and almost accepting tone and contents of this letter may reflect Gisela’s personal optimism and faith, as well as her lack of knowledge of and ability to grasp what the current persecution portended for even worse conditions to come. Gisela’s fear of the Nazi censors and her desire to shield Nadja from the entire dire truth may also have influenced her writing.

Max’s pithy greeting is one of encouragement and inspiration for Nadja and her comrades’ Zionist endeavors.

Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
                             [Vienna, Austria]

Hugo Jellinek (brother of GJS)
                                   [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Gisela urges Hugo to register for an “illegal transport” to Mandate Palestine to join his daughter, Gisella Nadja and “. . . bring us all to Palestine.” She gives him detailed advice on how to succeed in getting on the next boat, such as using their brother, Karl and other Zionist leaders as references, and stating that he has agricultural skills, as well as being musical and well educated. Gisela hopes for a reunion of the family in Palestine, — one that was tragically never to happen.

March 5, 1939
(Typed copy of Karl Jellinek’s speech delivered on board the Dutch ship “Veendam”)

 

Karl Jellinek
          [on ship to US from Holland]

(Probably typed by Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger)
                              [Vienna, Austria]


Theresa (Resl) Spitz (additional hand-written greetings)

                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Hugo Jellinek (brother of KJ)
Theresa (Resl) Spitz
(friend of HJ)
                        [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]


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

 

Karl Jellinek’s impassioned speech opening a Purim celebration held on board a ship to the US from Holland.  Karl expresses strong belief in the eventual rescue of all of his relatives and of all persecuted Jews in Europe, and in the need for unity and cooperation of all Jews in the building of the Jewish homeland in British Mandate Palestine. (Additional hand-written greetings added after text of speech by 'Resl' Spitz.)

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

Loving, worried, long letter, giving  personal news of herself, close family and friends, written over an almost two-month period. News of others’ departures/escapes, Gisela’s own optimistic start of English lessons, her sending of clothing and photo mementos. Expressions of despair: “Prisoners forever???”, “Why were we all ripped apart? This disaster will never be undone.”
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
                              [Vienna, Austria]
Anna Jellinek Nadel (sister of GJS)
                                [Sydney, Australia]

Gisela worrries over her father’s angry confrontational response to a Viennese office clerk who had disrespectfully addressed him. Gisela also writes of other family and indicative news, e.g., a) Jews now prohibited from entering the main park in Vienna; b) she and others taking baking classes to help prepare for their immigration.
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Leopold Schlesinger
Martha H. Jellinek

                              [Vienna, Austria]
Karl Jellinek (brother of GJS, brother-in-law of LS and MHJ)
Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek (sister-in-law of GJS, LS, and MHJ)
                                [New York City, USA]

Gisela is deeply conficted about escaping to the US with her husband, Leopold, and leaving her elderly parents behind in Vienna. Gisela also describes being weary of all the hard work involved in caring for her parents and keeping up with the family correspondence.

Leopold writes of the joy and gratitude he feels for the "redemptive" news of a forthcoming affidavit (and possibly, ship tickets) from Karl and Karla. Leopold continues his somewhat resigned, philiosophical and cryptic writing concerning his own emigration, as well as the emigration struggles and hopes of his brother, brothers and sisters-in-law, and members of Karla's family.

Martha H. Jellinek's hurried letter requests specific assistance from Karl regarding payment and receipt of ship tickets for her family's escape from Austria. Martha explains the urgency of having the ship tickets in her possession.

March 28, 1941
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
                              [Vienna, Austria]
Karl Jellinek (brother of GJS)
Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek (sister-in-law of GJS)
                              [New York City, USA]
This letter shows how Gisela’s current life, that of her husband, Leopold, and of friends and relatives are preoccupied with emigration out of Nazi-ruled Austria. Amid reports of telegrams from the US and Lwów, and of visits to her parents, cousins, friends and an overcrowded temple, Gisela writes of her and Leopold’s upcoming medical examinations. One must pass the exam and also show possession of a ship ticket for emigration, in order to be granted a visa. Gisela demonstrates her awareness of Nazi censorship by her use of abbreviations and obscure references, but at this late time, she still seems to have hope and expectations of escape.
June 6, 1941
(Est.)
Berta Schafer Jellinek
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
Leopold Schlesinger
Siegmund Jellinek

                              [Vienna, Austria]
Hugo Jellinek
Fritzi Fränkel

                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (granddaughter of BSJ and SJ, niece of GJS and LS, daughter of HJ, stepdaughter of FF)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Sad, final messages from each of the letter writers, including from Gisella Nadja's own father. Each close relative seems to try to reassure him/herself and Gisella Nadja of his/her fate and expresses love and yearning to be together again.

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