Letter Index by Suggested Starters

(view letters by author or 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.


Date
Author(s) / Origin of Letter
Recipient(s) / Relationship to Author(s) / Destination of Letter
July 26, 1938
Hugo Jellinek

                 [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

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

Summary

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.
October 14, 1938
Hugo Jellinek
                  [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (daughter of HJ)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

Summary

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.
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]

Summary

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 Palestine. (Additional hand-written greetings added after text of speech by 'Resl' Spitz.)
March 1939 - May 6, 1939
Gisela Jellinek Schlesinger
                              [Vienna, Austria]
Gisella Nadja Jellinek (niece of GJS)
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]

Summary

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.”
May 16, 1939
Max Jellinek
                            [Shanghai, China]

Karl and Kreindel/Karla E. Jellinek
(brother/sister-in-law of MJ)
                              [New York City, USA]

Summary

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.
Gisella Nadja Jellinek
[Rishon Le Zion, British Mandate Palestine]
Hugo Jellinek (father of G/NJ)
                       [Brünn, Czechoslovakia]

Summary

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.
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]

Summary

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.