22nd April, 1917

My darling!

Kurti's second birthday! I cannot let this day pass without writing a few lines which will bear witness that I am all this day with you. A few days ago I sent the usual birthday telegram and since then I have been carefully preparing for today. "In 10 days my boy will be 2 years old..", " in 9 days will be my little son's second birthday" and so on; today I got up at 5 a.m., I dressed in my best things to indicate also by my appearance that this is a holiday for me, then I brewed my tea using the spirit stove which has been my good friend all the time since I was at the front, then I wrote a postcard to you and now I sit here with my book of letters. This is to be the festive act, the high mass of the day! I am absolutely convinced that you and all will also remember me a lot and thus, despite the thousands of kilometres which separate us, we shall be together, united not only by our mutual love but also by the love of our Kurti which we share!

I also wanted to write on 10th April but I could not. What should I have said? That I am not only a year older but also by a year poorer? That I am very nearly an old man?, that on this day especially I am longing for you?, and more of the same? I preferred to abstain. If I had written only a few lines every time when I yearned for you, when I thought of you, I would have used up 50 such copy books by now, I am sure. In particular at recent times I could hardly find a minute during the day when I did not think of you in some way. Until now I succeeded in thinking of you on a purely spiritual, ideal level, as I have got used to for so long already; but now some dissonance comes into it. Surely I do not have to hide anything from you, my darling; for some time I have been thinking of you in a sensual way. In itself there is nothing wrong with this, because you are my sweet little woman and such a thing is only human. But here, in my conditions, it is not good because it naturally makes my life more difficult. And I hope to find my way back to my lovely Else, to my sweet little idol, without getting hot all over. At home, my dear, I will gladly accept a promise.

Forgive my, little mouse, that I have almost gone off the rails; what I said is a compliment and also an insult, it would have been better remained unsaid. I live now through difficult times and I have grave thoughts, but I will not let them slip out as I have done above. No doubt, we shall talk about it.

April is over! Peace is much talked about but my expectations are low. I don't believe that it is very likely that I would see you again this year. Perhaps next year at this time. For the third time already I postpone my hope to "next year". Tomorrow it is exactly 1000 days since we left Breslau; surely that is enough reason for me to complain! But I better leave it, it is pointless. Darling, I think with all my love of you and my dear children. For each of the 1000 days of our separation I send you 1000 kisses!

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