Tuesday, September 27, 2016

March 16, 1941: I Heard Your Voice

Letter from Ella to Opa


                              March 16th,1941 
Droysenstrasse 14

My beloved boy, today I send only a short note, but with many loving greetings. In the meantime you should have received my letter, asking you to obtain an affidavit for me, I also wrote to Rose about it, and Ellenruth is informed anyways. I do believe that you are in contact with both of them. Before I can take any action from here, the money for the passage (trip) has to be deposited over there. Hunschen, you probably know, or can find out, what kind of organization can help you with this. I am sure you are doing everything you can. Hopefully it will be successful.

Lotte Wittke, who still lives with me, received news last weekend that the affidavits for the whole family, mother, sister uncle and aunt came, also the cost of travel for everybody has been deposited. She is so very happy and hopes to leave soon. I am happy for her.

What do you hear from our Pattilein? How is Papa? Anything about Herting? Hunschen, the other day all in a sudden, I thought I heard your voice calling your Mama. So very clearly I heard your voice! This week no letter arrived from you, I am waiting anxiously. But since you promised to write, even if you are not doing well, I have calmed down. But about Patti I am worried, I have not heard from her for such a long time.  

Today Tilli came to stay with me for a few days. I am glad to have such a nice person around me again. Yesterday we went to see Engel's and spent a few nice hours. Then later, Tilli sat by my bed, and we had wonderful loving (warm, kind) talks til 1:30 in the morning. When we were at Engel's we naturally talked about you two. I am always so happy when I see and feel, how people who know you, love you, how interested they are, and how happy they are about good things happening to you.  

This afternoon Guttmann's will come by for an hour or so. I have not seen them for a long time. They had good news from both their children.  

Write soon and much, my very dear boy, I embrace and kiss you.

Your Mama

Say hello to Shelley's for me and everybody who is nice to you.

(the note in the margin was written by Tilli in the OLD German script (old writing) that neither Rose nor her sister Karin could make out entirely.  This is part of it.)

We are using this chance to send you a direct hello. I am proud of you and I am glad about the good news. Also about the picture which we admired at Engel's yesterday. Yesterday we spontaneously held a night session. (like Ella said they sat up all night)

Best greetings, my dear boy
Your old Tilli 

Letters from Ella are becoming emotionally hard for me. I think it is a matter of becoming increasingly attached to her and feeling increasingly worried for her, but knowing that the history has already happened, and I cannot do a thing. I can't reach back and grab her out of this miserable worry and anxiety. I can't go back and cast the opposing vote for Hitler's regime. I can't go back and change the treaty after The Great War to give Germany a chance to rebuild into a better country instead of a worse one. It compels me to look around today and think of what future I can shift now. I am in someone's past. I can vote, I can give, I can speak goodness into a hate-filled fight. I might be able to change something. 

Today's letter from Ella is back to the affidavits. Her visitors bring her comfort and joy, they give her space to share stories and wishes and dreams for her children. They distract her from her worries for just a moment.

That moment when Ella hears Opa's voice calling her... I felt the weight of her longing for her children. It's so strong that she hears their voice. I imagine my children now, with their still child-like voices- calling me from over the ocean into my heart. I think it would send me to the bed for a week. Perhaps that's why Tilli spent the night by Ella's bed, talking into the wee hours of the morning.

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