Red Cross Letter from Ella and Aunt Annchen to Opa
18 November 1943
We are healthy, happy for your greetings. Good news from Papa, none from Patti for a while. Think longingly of you.
Greet the Shelleys, Frau Herz.
My stomach knots with every letter from Ella. The war rages on, the Nazi death machine gets more morbidly efficient, and Ella's chances for survival decrease with every day. She has survived bombings, she has stayed away from Jewish-seeking Nazis, she has managed to stay sheltered and fed. It is no small task.
She can't send details about her struggles in these red cross letters, but she wouldn't anyway. She is a mother first, and after confirming her own health and news from family, she tells Opa her single emotion: Longing.
Ella has Annchen by her side (the best ex-sister-in-law EVER), hears news from August (who is now in occupied territory, so perhaps communication is a little easier for them. She hasn't heard from Patti (Opa's sister), but Patti is trying to hide a little bit more than everyone else. She is passing as a French person, and living alongside those who resist the Nazi occupation. Patti may not be able to safely get word to her mother.
Ella gives greetings to Opa's substitute parents in America- the Shelley's. I'm trying to remember who Frau Herz is, I will have to double check that.
But ultimately the most honest and telling line is "think longingly of you." That's all Ella wants: to step on the other side of this nightmare and see her children. How does Opa process these letters? I wish I knew.