Gis, if the Quaker Faith satisfies you completely, you naturally need not search otherwise, and can consider yourself exceptionally lucky, but I don’t believe one can find answers for all questions on this basis. I at least cannot even see a way in all that, but I also don’t know any other idea, which can satisfy me. Naturally it all depends on how one solves problems, but I don’t believe, that the problems are so simple, to be able to judge by the count of people killed. (Which brings up the question, with what method more are dying). (This must be in reply to something the girls had written to him about.) It depends on which way leads to the goal (achievement) and in this we are of one opinion.
I want to tell you about a discussion I attended in Haarlem the other day, and would like to hear your opinion about it. Mrs. P. thought it would be great, if the world had a Christian dictator, a man who would rule over the world in strong faith and great responsibility, and apply moral and material measures, to force all people to be happy. I believe this is the kind of means (ways) we want to fight against, and if it really lets us advance some the realization (reaction) will come even faster. Mrs. P. gave Cadbury as an example, who in his factories exercised quite some force to gain many successes. Force at first, and as the workers saw, what unselfish goals he set, and as they were really doing better and better, he could slowly reduce the force. Somebody replied, that the workers had only made comparisons, and since they would have been subjected to more force somewhere else, they acknowledged Cadbury’s work. The discussion was discontinued, but I was very surprised to hear such an opinion from a Quaker. How do you stand to that?
It really is not my intention to try to appear superior to you in any way. I am very sorry, if my letters to you gave you the reason to believe that. If again you have that impression, it does not mean anything bad (mean), it’s just a poor choice of words. I will make an effort to be more careful about that.
It kind of makes me happy that the Halle sisters accuse Opa of trying to appear superior to them. Whether or not Opa actually felt that way (and my honest opinion is that he did not 100% feel that way, but maybe a small part of him did and it seeped out at times)... I love that this relationship is in such a place where they can call him out on that. He apologizes, and then in the next paragraph he gives his critique of their report. Ha.
My critic of your ¾ year report I sent to Mr. W. (Mr. Wohlrabe) 2 months ago, he wrote me, he did not read it to anybody for the following reason: You had so much joy with the report, were so proud of it, also received much acknowledgement from the adults, it would have been wrong take it apart critically. Well, I think criticism is good everywhere, especially when it comes from one’s own ranks, but Mr. W. must have had his reasons. So, what I now write about the report, please do not read to the group. I think the report shows a bit of a “dancing lessons” atmosphere, which has sneaked into the group, which is terribly superficial. I was still there at many of the discussions and I know they were better than described.
For example the report states, that Stefan Zweig in ”the eyes of the eternal brother” did not solve the problem to the end. That is my opinion as well, but the report doesn’t say anything about why and what if the problem was kept open (unsolved). That poor performances (achievements) are not a mistake, but the victory of the subconscious over the consciousness, to be part of Freud’s theory was not clear to me, but that’s probably my fault. Then the report speaks of a contradiction between “Menching’s book” and M. L. lecture. I cannot find one in it. They claim that people of different races, living under equal conditions, do not show any significant differences in their intellect and their abilities, which does not mean at all, that life together must be harmonious. Those are 2 totally different questions. Then it says, the individual can expect from the community only as much as he gives himself. I don’t think so. The individual should expect from his community, that they, if needed, totally and absolutely support him, without checking how much he has done for the community. After all, the community is not a store (business), where everything is precisely settled up to each penny. Everyone should, without indifference, expect from the community all it can give, no matter how much he himself can give. That he gives to his own abilities (strength) is taken for granted, otherwise a community cannot exist, how strong his strength is, only he can decide alone. The whole report seems to also be rather incomplete, as you beautifully noted your themes, sometimes also give the results, but the meaning of the report, an account of the discussions, are missing totally. One more thing about the non-violent discussion. It says: some could really not understand why one, who is attacked, does not defend himself, and has the advantage, just because he has stunned (surprised) his attacker. I think that sounds so touchingly naive, as the little Moritz imagines non-violence. Moritz might just be a name for a boy who believes everything, I am not sure. (There is a German children’s book, MAX UND MORITZ, they are very mischievous, and the stories are rather bloody.) May I ask who wrote the report, or is that too indiscreet?
About my France situation I am in great despair. (Sounds like he is ready to give up) The other day my mother was ordered to the consulate with her passport and pictures. Overjoyed, she wrote in a letter to my sister, she went there, full of hope to come back with a visa, and then heard there, we have to apply again, since the files (Documents) allegedly were lost. Can you imagine her disappointment? This is how they play with people…(This is how they play with people’s lives)
How is the group, how about your plans for work? Do you actually still have work regularly? The Amsterdam J.F.(Young Friends) group is pretty good, but sadly enough only meets once a month. They are also “ailing” some, that people are too well off here.
With best greetings
Opa asks about the Berlin group, about the Halle sister’s work. He reports that the Amsterdam group is good but only meets monthly and are “too well off here.” I remember Helene (Opa’s niece, his sister Patti’s daughter) telling me something about her mother’s worldview. She said that her mother (Patti) felt that if you hadn’t gone through real hardship or struggle, then you weren’t really as wise or credible as someone who had. I think Opa is mirroring some of these ideas here, but it is interesting that he did not think like this or talk like this in later years, not while I knew him.