Letters from Else, 1937

Postcard: 14 February 1937

Gleiwitz, 14th February 1937

From Weissenberg, Tost, Upper Silesia, Ring 20

Dear Werner

I couldn’t get anything done in B[euthen] yesterday. Father called on the gentleman twice but he could not make contact. Apparently no-one was home for the entire afternoon. I can only hope that you have had some info. I don’t know if my trip to B. is still necessary. Perhaps I will receive news from your letters which will arrive here tomorrow or Tuesday – then we will know more. I hope you will hear something to your advantage. The eight no longer exist. Incidentally, we expect revenge for this card soon.

Love, especially from your Mother

To: Werner Weissenberg

C/o Frau Strumfeld


Fichardstrasse 9 II

*Note: I do not know what the ‘eight’ refers to. And is the ‘revenge’ something to do with this being sent on Valentine’s Day? I have no idea.

Letter: 3 November 1937

Tost, 3rd November 1937

Dear Werner

By the time this letter has reached you, you will have completed two weeks of work behind you. I hope you will have coped better. The first experience of professional work is always difficult, I know that from experience. Not everything falls into your lap; if you want to succeed you have to put an effort in and thank God if you are successful, because the time to celebrate is when you have achieved success through work. The feeling of over exertion will, I hope, in fact I am confident, be alleviated and if you get interested in your activities and become accustomed to them they will no longer upset you, which I think is the case at the moment. Anyway, my dear child, I wish you a Happy Birthday – the second you will have celebrated in Frankfurt. May you remain healthy, then you will enjoy your employment and have success, and your abilities will not be unappreciated. No-one has your welfare more at heart than I, and I hope that God will at least grant me that wish.

To make you stronger I am sending you a little taste. It will be especially tasty between supper and bedtime. The Aunts will certainly provide you with cake. I was supposed to get oranges from Paul, yesterday; there weren’t any. I am enclosing a few as I have recommended them – drink some of the juice before breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to cut them up and squeeze them and the work will be worthwhile and you will have extra strength. Apart from the juice they will supply bulk to your stomach and the vitamins contained therein will enter your bloodstream. And one feels more energetic and fresher, livelier. Around Christmas, apples will be cheaper. Take my advice and have a daily intake of fruit – please follow it. I am enclosing a lemon press. Frau Str is going to be so kind and clean it. Father is giving you two bottles. “Just keep taking the tablets” or, on this occasion, the juice.

(We think there should be another page here – I hope to update this in due course)

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)

Letter: 8 December 1937


Tost, 8th December 1937

Dear Werner,

Yesterday afternoon and this morning I didn’t have time to write; that is why the parcel to you was sent off without a letter, so that you would have clean laundry and not be embarrassed, which hopefully was the case. And now I thank you very much, dear boy, for your good wishes and the detailed letter on my birthday and the fabulous pendant, which is causing me a problem, however. What are you thinking of, my son? Are you considering yourself to be such a wealthy man when you look at your bank account? Grandma used the word Grossmogul. I never considered you to be such a spendthrift – such a large sum from your first salary! A thirteenth percentage of that sum would have been sufficient and that is the amount I will retain in order not to offend you and your generous gift offer, and then perhaps a replacement for the damaged lampshade. I will buy something and the remainder – your coat will cost you something and a new bath towel. I didn’t send the old one because it is torn. You see you have new expenditure and you mustn’t give so much of your money away.

When I woke on Monday morning I was itchy truly, truly – my left hand especially and I thought that was a sign. That was really true that I would come into some money. It was miraculous. When I was at the Wolff’s house Father asked me if I had requested money from you. That’s nonsense. But the postman brought your 50 marks. I was quite confused and immediately thought it was payment towards a coat. You don’t know your Mother very well son if you thought I would immediately want it all for a birthday party. But grandmother insisted that I should bake a cake and she finally convinced me, so I sent you a taster and hope that you like it and I am sure you will be able to use the butter. It was a bit slow in reaching you? No one believes how busy you are.

I just received a card from Heinz. They are both ill with flu. Margot has such bad headaches that she had to call the doctor twice during the night. There are so many sick with it. I also had news from M. Aunt F writes that she is happy to have dealt with the matter; I thought about it night and day and finally found a solution. We are stupid – don’t know how to deal with the matter. Auntie also thinks you should make enquiries at the duty payment office about whether there is a cheaper way of sending things. She wants to send you cold (trans. fridge?) cake.

Aunt Hedel is going to make it like a ghost, or is that just a joke? If you are going to have as much trouble with paying customs duty as you had last year, it’s not worth the bother. You have enough to eat, thank God. In the matter concerning the letter from Coburg, I had the same idea. You couldn’t take the letter to school without informing everyone. I didn’t congratulate Wolff on your behalf because I thought there would be special congratulations. A belated congratulation is better than none. You could have blamed me for forgetting the date of the birthday of Wolff because you can’t be expected to remember when away without prompting. They announced they would come for supper. We went out for afternoon coffee. Dear Grandma gave me a box of chocolates, some gingernut biscuits and a pair of good gloves. Father gave me 3 bars of Palmolive soap and Uncle Fedor some silk stockings. I was thrilled with everything – especially with your desire to make my life easier, dear son, and thank you from the bottom of my heart but such a large sum I can’t accept.

Stay well.

Love and kisses Mother

P.S. If you don’t want to wear the old coat, perhaps you can send it back in the holidays. Perhaps I can find someone to buy it. Much love.

Upside-down note: Mr Schuft brought Grandma and me 10 marks as a Chanukah present.

(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)