6th January, 1917

My one and only love! The first letter in the New Year falls on our most important anniversary and so it has to be a love letter. It is 8 years today, my treasure! And the two and a half years during which world- history has robbed me of the happiness of being allowed to live next to you, seem much longer than the sunny time when we were together. Little mouse, I don't wish to play the martyr, I can well imagine that during the time of our separation you have suffered a lot and still do, I also have a rather careless temperament inclined to forgetfulness, but I believe that you cannot have suffered as much as I did. You see, you live amidst dear relatives and, moreover, you can find consolation in being near the children. I have to yearn for all of you! And though my thoughts embark daily on the long journey to you as well, not always can my will keep them on the desired track, all too often they go astray on the way and questions about the future take hold of all my thinking.

In order to compensate for all the sorrows of the past years, I have to provide for you and the children a future free from care. Presently I have in mind a big plan, which I will not discuss here because this is to be a love letter and not a business letter. Darling, if my plan were successful, then we shall stay in Bielitz; this is my new favorite idea. If you and the children have found a kind and gracious refuge there in these difficult times, then let us also be happy there in good times. It may be just 8 years since I told you that I want to be so happy with you that everybody will be green with envy. Do you agree, darling, that we were happy together and that we want to be even more so in the future? I am always reminded of the emotions, which bound me to you long ago, when I was in Chicago: adoring love and insatiable yearning for your presence.

My dearest, for me you still stand on a pedestal and I can only look up to you with a grateful heart; if, at least partly, I have become a decent human being, then it is only thanks to you - and I will never forget it. And the time of separation cannot diminish my adoration of you. In this respect I will not be older when I return to you; on the contrary, I will be rejuvenated. And today, on the eighth anniversary of our wedding day, 10000 kilometers far from you, I solemnly swear again that I consider as my permanent purpose in life to make you and our children happy. Here in my dear "Book of letters" you shall read, after a period of time the length of which I do not know, that it is you and only you who can give fulfillment to my life. May God's providence keep you healthy and give me strength to satisfy the purpose of me life.

I have declared this day as an official holiday; I have cancelled all lessons and have been sitting all day near the stove (the temperature outside was -35) and dreaming. In the afternoon several friends came to visit me and there was soon an opportunity to talk about the children, so I could enthuse about you and the kids, and now I am happy, I am in a festive mood. I hope that next year we may celebrate this day together. We live here in some excitement, as there is a lot of talk about peace, in the last two weeks reports have been coming about peace- proposals. Although the prospects are still rather hazy, we hope and wait!

With a thousand kisses.

© The estate of Otto Feldmann: Monica Lanyado, Tzafrah Shushan and Aya Shochat