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Kayman Letter 11: By Israel and Roshke Bergsztejn

Written to Eliezer and family in Australia

July 12, 1939

Letter with no envelope

My best friends, Eliezer, Zeldi and children,

We were delighted to receive your letter and photo of the children, and to know that you and the children are well. Not to give them an evil eye, they look like children of nobility. May you have lots of joy from them.

We are continuously talking about you, and about God's grace bestowed upon you by enabling you to escape from here just in time. Business people more substantial than you were before leaving are today economically worse off. We keep asking ourselves, how would you and your children have fared here now? You should be more than happy and appreciate your good fortune.

As to your remark that we are drifting apart, you are wrong. We remain the same good friends of yours as before. It is the change of circumstances that causes us to be occupied otherwise, so much so that one forgets even about oneself. It is impossible to write about the new circumstances. You surely read the papers and are aware of the tensions in Europe. God only knows how
it will all end. Emigration, which we desire with all our beings, is not up to us. We are subject to a quota that will keep us waiting for a few years yet. Up till now we have only received a number from the consulate and it will be years before we can travel. In the meantime, we must continue to stay in Povelkes [the name of the street where they lived - a street just outside town].

How are you all? There's nothing new with us. Some times we have work and the rest of the time we are jobless and thus the years pass by. Gutka Farber gave birth last week to a daughter in Bialystok. I offer you a Mazal Tov [congratulations] on the occasion.

Remain well.

Your friend,


Dear friends, Zeldi, Eliezer and children,

Thank you for your letter and photo. We keep looking at the children and feel like pinching their cheeks as we used to, but we must be satisfied with the intent only. Our infrequent writing is a result of the changed circumstances. We rarely leave the house - the streets are empty. The only place where we spend any time is Bertha's. Tevche feels well and recently started selling shoes. Moscicky [the name of the Polish president] has settled the outstanding account with him [probably overdue taxes].

Hannah and Isaac [her children] are doing well at school. Isaac has gone to Bialystok for a few weeks. He is a very good-looking lad. I'm glad that you are happy with your lot. You can't imagine what people are going through here. You are lucky to be where you are.

Please write often. Bertha, Basha, Liba and their families send their regards.

Your devoted friend,


P.S. The lawyer Olszewski passed away today.

Letters contributed by Selina Kayman.

Translation from Yiddish to English by Israel Kipen.
Edited by: Selina Kayman and Jose Gutstein.
Editor's notes are entered in [brackets].

Copyright 2004 by Jewish Holocaust Museum & Research Centre in Australia, Selina Kayman and Jose Gutstein.
All rights reserved to the original letter and the translation.

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