Wednesday, May 3, 2017

January 30, 1943: Silence is Safety

Red Cross Letter from Ella to Opa


30 January 1943
My boy, been a while without news from you, hope you are healthy, happy. Got a letter from Papa; he’s healthy. Patti, Maurice good exams; haven’t heard from you.

A letter from Ella, after we discover the grim news of Martha and Erich Stier. She says nothing about them. I honestly don't think she was really able, and at the very least she was likely terrified to draw any attention to it. What good could it do? For her children, Ella's approach has always been to protect and shelter, for better or worse. She likely did not bother with these details because she did not want Opa to worry. There's also a chance she didn't know (but I doubt that). She doesn't know what has happened to them, only that they are gone.

She reports only good news and asks only questions about Opa's well-being. She is hopeful for good news from Opa, though he is writing, the letters aren't making it in good time. The war slows and stops and truncates: news, relationships, and hope.

Ella keeps her spirits up by doing all she can to stay connected to those she loves, with kisses sent miles across the ocean. Her silence on bad news is for the safety of herself and her kids' sanity.

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