May 29, 1941
My good little Edit,
Yesterday evening your letter and your parcel from the 19th and 21st respectively arrived here by the same post. As always, my sincere thanks for all the love and care with which you picked out the many fine things for us. Everything arrived in perfect condition, and once again, we're all quite delighted about the parcel. I won’t even tell you anything at all about the fantastic prices here; the circumstances here are such that you simply cannot believe them without experiencing them yourself. Is it really humanly possible that a kilo of bread increased from 20 to 30 zł. in the course of a single day? Everything else, of course, rises along with it to an equal extent. And nevertheless, people buy everything they can get and at any price. A real state of panic! And add to this the large numbers of corpses, the famished children, etc., it's quite something! Actually, you don’t even dare to go out into the street carrying a package, without having it ripped from your hands within the space of two minutes. It is all indescribable, and unfortunately it will get even worse; but we can't be grateful enough for the fact that we needn’t go hungry yet. It's really a miracle to be able to eat one’s fill these days. But enough of this! I also try to think about it as little as possible, and since luckily I am busy from morning till night and usually sit together with our folks here well into the night (just to have some diversion), I generally succeed in my attempt, too.
[ . . . ] Ditlein, how I envy you the outings to enjoy the springtime! I don't even know anymore what a green tree looks like. In the narrow streets here, there’s nothing but dust and dirt and "stinkies" [sztynki] (little fish that are sold on the street here in large quantities and have this beautiful name because of their strong odor. In the past few days, when it was so hot, you could pass out in some streets), flowers in only two shops, at insanely high prices. Do you know how much I would like to get out sometime, into the countryside, into the fresh air, hear birds singing, and see water! Viktor wants to take me along one day; just recently he has been allowed to go to Jurek again, but it's not worth the risk—he can allow himself to go without Mogen more easily than I can.1
But we're happy indeed about our balcony. From the street side we have sun until 11:30 a.m., and on the courtyard side until 3:30, and on all the floors a "beach life" is developing. Using an extension cord, we brought a light onto the rear balcony, and bridge is played there; in front, the young people get together (those who aren't playing bridge) and chat. And in addition, "our" café is now open. The passageway from our building hasn’t been created yet, of course, but our residents are among the most grateful patrons. Admittedly, I haven't yet managed to go over there, although I had three invitations for Saturday and Sunday; I was just recently in the kindergarten next door, which has a swing, seesaw, sandbox, etc., with Marcyś and Henryś Kuschner. It's really nice there, even quite lovely for our circumstances, but I always think that in these times one shouldn't spend money on such things, money that can be used to help others. At any rate, I always have pangs of conscience whenever I think of going to such a café. And somehow I have a sense that I wouldn't feel comfortable there, either. [ . . . ]