Migration, Memory & Memorial


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Dundee Evening Telegraph

wednesday march 17, 1909



Postmen and telegraph girls yesterday decided to strike. The postal services are disorganised. 700 employees being idle, and three million letters undelivered. It is reported the wires connecting Paris with the provinces have been cut. Postal servants at Havre and Lille have pledged themselves to support their Paris colleagues. Brest and Lyons employees have practically decided on a strike.

POSTMEN’S FEDERATION AND A GRANT. We are authorised by the Postmen’s Federation to say there is absolutely no truth in the statement that a grant of £1000 has been made by the Federation to the French strike. There is no improvement in the situation at St Martin’s-le-Grand with regard to the communication with Paris. Late this morning five lines out of ordinary service of 24 were working, and some of these were bad.



Scow-Trimmers’ Meeting Winds up in a Free Fight – Two Bystanders Hit.

Striking scow trimmers held a meeting in the saloon of Paulino Carrullo at 220 E. 111th Street last night, and at 11 o’clock the meeting broke up in a fight. Men poured into the street and several pistol shots were fired.

Policeman Cohen sent a call for the reserves of the East 104th Street Station and they dispersed the crowd, arresting Carrullo, Michael Derruico, and John Pepee, all of whom had pistols. All the men gave the saloon as their address.

It was discovered afterward that Josef Pusbato of 232 East 111th Street had been hit in the left ear by a stray bullet and that Philomena Maddeo of 211 East 111th Street had been hit on the forehead by a spent ball. Their wounds were dressed by a doctor from the Harlem Hospital and they remained at home.


Court and Personal. THE KING IN PARIS.

Paris, May 6. King Edward arrived in Paris at half-past six last evening, looking bronzed and well. After dining at the Hotel Bristol, His majesty attended a performance at the Olympia. The King remains in Paris till Saturday.—Exchange Co.



Jews object to the designation in the immigration reports.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4. – Appealing to the Immigration Commission for an elimination of the designations of “Hebrew” in all immigration reports, Simon Wolf, representing various Jewish societies, and Julius W. Mack of Chicago, appearing for the Immigrants Protection League, addressed the commission to-day in favour of their contention.

They both claimed that the designation “Hebrew” was religious in its nature and had no place in the reports of immigrants coming here. They desired Jews to be known as Germans, Russians, or other nationalities, according to the country from which they came.


Dora's Mother

15th January 1909, Paris

To Harry Bt. from Abraham. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Friend B.

I have been forced to write you this letter because I hope that it will set me free from the torments which give me no rest, either by day or by night, torments caused by Lisa. I would dearly like to know what she is doing. I have already written one letter to somebody in New York several weeks ago, but have not received any reply. I do not believe that he does not want to write, unless he has nothing cheerful to write about her, but still, I console myself with the thought that the address is not correct. Now I beg you to write and tell me what she is doing. Forget your friendship with your mother-in­-law for a few hours and don’t take her part because, whatever she may or may not have told you to justify herself, you still can’t be certain that she was right to do what she has done. He will lie here and nobody will prevent him from being together with us for the whole time and seeing everything that has happened, so that you will be able to judge who is in the right.

I believe that, in all the time you were in Paris I never once behaved badly towards you. On the contrary, whatever I was able to do to make things easier for you, I did with the greatest pleasure. Now it is your tum to do something for me. It won’t cost you much, and you will be doing something for me which will free me from a very great deal of pain. Just answer the following few questions: is she well or has the climate affected her adversely? Is she going to school? Can she already speak a few words of English? Does she ever mention me? She has not already forgotten me completely, has she? I beg you to give me an answer to these few questions and not to write anything else apart from the answers. If you want to write to me about yourself and how things are going with you I shall be very glad to know. When a man is together with his children, he does not feel such yearning towards them as when he is far away from them, especially in such circumstances. For the first few months her voice was constantly ringing in my ears, and I often put my head out of the window because I imagined I could hear her calling “Papa!” During the last few months, I have seen her mainly in dreams, although I do not believe in dreams. Nevertheless, it has made a bad impression on me, and there are many nights when I cannot sleep. I have never yet seen her in good condition. Many times, she has been ill and, sometimes, even dead. Although I am glad that this is nothing more than dreams, it nevertheless makes me tremble at night. It comes upon me sometimes when to her, that it seems to me that, if I were to have her close to me, I would press her to my heart so strongly that I would squeeze the breath out of her. I cannot meet a girl of her age in the street without beginning to tremble. I would send her some kisses, but it is impossible, because there is absolutely nobody who would be able to give her those kisses like me. It is also useless to write to her, because she cannot read yet or reply to me. I will just have to wait. If possible, let her write me a few words.

I send my best greetings to you, your wife and your children, hoping to receive an answer from you very soon. I remain

Your friend, Abraham
My address is the same [as before].

28th January 1909, New York

To Abraham from Dora. Written in Yiddish.


Someone wrote to me that Jacques misses me badly so I’m writing to you as to a mensch to take pity on the child and to give him to me. I’ll take him to live with me and make him a decent human being and I promise you that he’ll remain your son, just as Lisa is your daughter. In the meantime, it must be seen too that the children are brought up together and I truly hope that in New York they will become decent people because in no other country is the future so good for children as in America. I’m urging you again to consider this well. Your being angry with me doesn’t need to be taken out on the children for after all, I’m telling you once again that it isn’t my fault. Nobody can know as well as you do about how much I endured and I gave you enough reasons to win me back for your faithful wife, yet you didn’t want to. I always accepted that you wanted to get rid of me, yet until the last week I still pleaded with you to return to London, and had you followed me it surely would not have come to this. Now that you want to return to London without me you’ll find it easier, having got rid of me. I’m writing to you all this not to exonerate myself. First, I don’t care other than for you to see that we should make arrangements for the children’s sake as is best for them, and in my opinion, it’s the best way because they will be very contented by my side and won’t be lonely for Lisa misses Jacqui terribly. She doesn’t stop crying for Jacques, her frère, to be brought over, and since you want to go to London and will have to go to work and leave him with strangers, he’ll be very lonely.

Put your faith in Jacques and ask him whether he wants to go to me or stay with you, but let him write it to me himself. I believe you’ll consider this well. This is absolutely not for my benefit, but quite simply for the children. If this is how we happened to end our life together, let us not let the children suffer from it. Let Jacques write to me, and reply to the above, most of all to give Lisa, who won’t stop crying for her frère Jacques, a little bit of joy. I kiss my dear son Jacques; let him write to me. You promised me once that if I were no longer with you, you would give me the children and let me hear from them.


The day I get a letter from him (saying) that he wants to come over, I’ll send him a first-class boat fare and he’ll travel like a prince. This is my address:
Mr. M.
768 Fox Street Bronx N.Y.
For M. B. F.

4th February 1909, New York

To Abraham from Zlate Bt. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Friend Avram

I am very sorry about your situation. I wanted to write to you several times to ask you whether she had gone back. As soon as she arrived with that fellow, I could not contain myself and quarrelled with her and left her in her rooms. I did not want to have anything to do with her. That such a woman should do such a thing! I blame her more than you, although you are also a little to blame, for not having driven that fellow out of your house. If you had, things might not have come to this pass. Now, we shall try to find her and write to you. For a month, she lived not far from me, and I saw the child all the time. After a time, she had arranged things so well, that she soon began speaking English because she had to talk to the children, and also, she did not utter a word in Yiddish. I was extremely grieved, and she told me that she was going to go back to Paris, but now, I understand, she is living with Bernard in the Bronx and does not want anyone to know about her, because she is ashamed. I used to upbraid her a great deal, and she is ashamed to come to my place.

Now, I think that you are cleverer than she. You feel great sympathy for the children and you should forgive her everything.

… and come to America and meet there, we shall find a house. I think that the material benefits you have, you will also have in America, and you should do this for the sake of the children. You are not the first person to whom this has happened. I think that she herself has also married, but she cannot help herself in her situation. You should have more courage. I ask you, therefore, to reply promptly and let me know what you intend to do. If you do come, you can come straight to me. I think that you have nothing to lose by leaving Paris. I beg you to write and tell me what Jackie is doing and whether he wants you both to meet. He is already a child who understands everything. Be well.

From your friend Zlate. Please send a reply quickly and also one from Jackie. I send him friendly greetings.

Undated, Paris

To Zlate Bt. from Abraham. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Friend B.

I have received your letter, for which many thanks. Thank you also for your participation in my present situation and your desire to help me to the best of your ability. I am very glad to know that you do not have a bad opinion of me and think that I am not entirely to blame. I assure you that you are not altogether deluding yourself when you blame me for not having driven him out of my home. I must also reply that I could not do it for many reasons.

It hurts me that you were unable to give me correct information about Lisa in that letter, because you did not know where she was at the time. If you still have not found her, I can give you her address, because, two days before I received your letter, I received one from Dora in which she told me that I should send Jacques to her. What I replied to her you will read in the letter I am sending her. I could not send the letter to her address, because she begrudged my replying to her. If you like, you can give the letter to her, and if not, not. It is all the same to me. I did not write a letter to her for her sake, but for Jacques’ sake. I wanted to put into words a little of what is in my heart, because it might perhaps make my heart lighter. I also do not know what to write in reply to what you write to me—that I should come to America. It is quite correct that I have nothing to lose in Paris, but what can I expect to find in America? Coming to that woman after the way she has behaved towards me is impossible. If I come there, I do not think I shall be sufficiently strong to be able to restrain myself from strangling her for the great pain she has caused me. She broke up our home, and it is now impossible to repair the situation, because it will break down again every time. If I ever do come to America, it will be to die there, not to live.

I have wanted to leave Paris for a long time, because I cannot look at anything which reminds me of her without its causing me the greatest pain. However, I must stay because of Jacques. It would be a pity to tear him away from school. He has four more months to go before he finishes. He is doing very well in his studies. He is top in all subjects and, during the past month, he came top of all seven classes in the whole school, with 75% points out of 80. Nobody else got more than 68. All this makes it clear to me that I should not leave Paris, because I believe he will finish school with a great big prize. When I have to leave Paris, we shall leave in such a way that nobody will have any idea where we have gone.

That is all I can write to you for the time being. Perhaps times will change, and then I shall be very happy. And now I do not ask anything else of you except that you should write to me about Lisa. If you will be able to do so, you will be doing me a very great favour. Sometimes I have such a longing for her, it is as if someone were drawing my heart from my body with a pair of pliers. I can still hear her voice when she used to run to me 10 times a day and ask: “Papa, que je suis gentille? Embrasse-moi, papa”. I used to give her a kiss and feel the greatest pleasure in doing so. I am very confident that if you and your wife are able to write to me about Lisa, you will certainly do so.

I end this letter by sending you, your wife and your children, my best wishes. Jacques also sends his best wishes to all of you. He still remembers the accident that happened to Liova, your son. I believe that was his name when the tram ran him over. Only today did he tell me the whole story of how it happened, as if it had been yesterday.

1909, London

To Abraham from Davis G. Written in English.

3 Blenheim Crescent.
Bayswater, W.

My dear brother in law,

I received your letter on Friday. We are very pleased to have letters from you regularly. We have four children, our family is not larger and we are not very well off in business. We have to tell you some very good news, Simmey confined this Saturday morning at 10 o’clock with a very nice little baby boy. Next Saturday she will have a brit milah. She is getting on very well. Yunkel is all right and so is Harris. I gave Annie L. to read the letter and she said she sent you two P. cards and you have not answered her. She is cross with you. She said that you are not her uncle any more and she will not write to you or to Dora. She do not want to know of either you or her. If I were you I would never write to Dora an answer to her P. cards as she does not deserve it and if she troubles you very much with her letters or P. cards, try to move out, and she won’t know your address and if you have any news send us a letter. Your mother is alright. Next Saturday we will have a very nice party and she is very pleased with her great-grandchild. This is all we have to write and we wish you all a Happy New Year. Please God next year we should be altogether and try to forget about Dora, and her relations. Your mother sends her best regards and your niece and Simmey, her baby, Yunkel and Harris wish you a Happy New Year.

My dear Jacky,

Do not take any notice of your mother’s letters because she only wants to spoil you like she is and become wicked. Your mother used to be false to you, now you found her out what she is and you need not trouble or cry for her. If she writes a letter to you do not take any notice of her and don’t answer her, do not make your father troubled by crying. We all send regards, wishes and kisses to you and Booba sends a thousand kisses.

4th February 1909, New York

To Abraham from Harry Bt. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Friend Avram

We have just received your letter of 17 January. I would very much like to fulfil your wish but, unfortunately, I cannot give you a proper answer at all, because, when Dora came, I did not like the story she told. I was working in the country at the time, and Zlota also did not like her behavior. She moved out of the house, and Dora stayed for another few weeks in these rooms. Later, she moved out to the Bronx, which is two hours’ journey by train from where we live, and we have heard nothing more from her.

What we do know is that, since she wrote you a letter and you sent the letter back, she sent someone to call Zlota, showed her the letter, and said that she would go to Paris and take Jacques away, too. We were afraid though that she had already left. That was before she had moved out to the Bronx. We did not want to have anything to do with her, because I did not like the man she had come with at all. As far as I am concerned, he is a depraved person. If he can do what he has done, he is not worth my talking to him.

Even before you wrote to me, I knew which of you was the guilty one. I would very much like to help you if at all possible. I shall try to find out and see everything, and will write to you about it.

I have nothing more to write to you about. The whole family send you greetings and think kindly of you. Your friend,

4th February 1909, Paris

To Jane G. from Abraham. Written in English.

Dear sister,

I received your letter and answer you immediately. It is not true that I do not want to know about you. I have sent you a post card two days after I received your last letter. I can’t understand why you did not receive it. I told you in the post card and advised you that if you must have an operation it is the best thing if you can afford it to come to Paris and go in a hospital. In the Paris hospitals they are very skilful in making operations. When I was in the hospital I was about 8 weeks in the place where every body had to be operated and I have seen hundreds of people men and women who have been operated of all kinds of illnes, many even very dangerously and all of them went out in 15 or twenty days in the best of health. Now I want to know howe do you mean by saying the baby had you been confined lately I don’t know wether you have got a baby you never told me that how old is it and what is it a boy or a girl and what kind of illness has it got. Now I must tell you that you did not understand me what I meant when I said when I will have no money I will have no relations I did not mean you personally I meant every body even myself and it is true when you sent me the £2 you were a good relation to me you were a good sister but if you would come to me that time when I did not have even two pennies would I have been a good brother to you? Never! You would make me only sorrow and I could not help you. Am I a brother to sister Perel when I can’t send her money am I a son to mother when I can do nothing for her. That is what I meant I will have no relations when I will have no money I meant the relations will not be able to do for me anything, I will make them only sorrow and therefore it is better not to come.

I am very sorry of your bad position in which you fined yourself now but you must believe me I can’t help it. I am myself now in such a bad position that I was never in my life. Not to make you sorrow I did not want to tell you but as you think me to be a bad one so I must tell you that you have got a mistake. I am not bad but my position is bad really. I don’t know what is the mater with me. I am afraid I am getting mad or another two or four weeks it will happen to me something which will be very bad. I am still suffering bitterly I can’t work I can’t sleep and what do I want l do not know myself I am wounded deadly wounded and that wound pains me so much that sometimes I would like to finish my life. I am afraid my end is not far off. I can’t explain to you what I have got but I must tell you that I am very very bad something is in me which burns my heart and I can’t help it. With the greatest effort I stop in the house. I am driven always to take Jackey by the hand and let everything in the house and go away in the world without telling to anybody where I find myself. I am afraid if it will not turn out better I will not be able to resist it. I am so tiresome I am so longing for something it draws my heart out of the bossom. Yes a very bad winter I pass this year. I beg you to excuse me for making you sorrowful with my letter I did not tell you before for that reason.

9th February 1909, Paris

To Harry Bt. from Abraham. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Friend Bt

Forgive me for disturbing you because, with this letter, I promise you that it will be the last one I send you, unless you ask me for another one. A few weeks ago, I sent you a letter begging you to write to me about Lisa, and you did not want to do this for me. I was sure that you would do it. I think that perhaps you no longer live at that address and did not receive my letter. Consequently, I am sending this letter by registered post, so that I can be certain that you have received it.

I believe that I do not have to beg you to write to me any more about Lisa because, if you did not do so before, you will not do so now, either. The letter which is lying here is for Dora. If you want to hand it over to her, good; if not, then you do not have to. It’s all the same to me. So long as you know that I replied to her.

With best regards to all of you

Your friend, Abraham

1909, New York

To Abraham from Dora. Written in Yiddish.

I have heard that you are not well and that you have trouble with your leg and cannot go out.

Since Jackie is now of an age when thought should be given to his future, it is your duty and my duty to seek what is best for him, something over which you will cause me pain by not letting me know anything about him. It may be that you will make him unhappy for the whole of his life, and I believe that Jackie’s life and future should be more important to you than your personal concerns. I am therefore writing to you yet again to say that the best plan would be to send him to me, because he is still of an age where one can make a respectable person of him. Since I can do this more quickly in New York than anywhere else, my plan is that you should send him to me. This would be much better for him and, perhaps, for Lizzie as well. In any case, if things work out badly for Jackie, it will not be my fault, but yours, because I have done everything and, instead of hating me, as you want him to do, I believe he will have more reason to hate you.

I believe that you will not be so bad now as you were before and will not let Jackie write because, according to what I have heard, your circumstances have changed over a greeting from me. I would have written myself but I am certain that you will not give in, so it is not worth writing.

Send to this address
400 Chester Street

9th February 1909, Paris

To Dora from Abraham. Written in Yiddish.


I am writing to you in reply to the letter you sent me because it is less dirty than the first and less false. I also believe that this will be the last letter I shall send you, and that is why I have written so much, even though it serves no purpose at all to write everything that is written here, because you know it all. However, I have written it just the same, because there are some things you have to know, so that, if what I wish for should ever come to pass, you will not be taken by surprise.

I am enormously astonished at the bad opinion you have about me, the father, of your children. You tell me that l should hand Jacques over to you. You believe that I have even less feeling for the children than a cat or a dog [and] that if they were to take them away from me, I would not say anything. Who knows as well as you how devoted I was to the children? Who fed the children? Who washed them? Who sent them to école? Who went for walks with them, if not I? And when you used to lie around in a hotel somewhere to amuse yourself in your dirty behavior, it was I who used to prepare food for the children when they came home from école. I made supper for them when it was already nine o’clock at night and you had not come back yet.

Bernard is a good witness; I don’t need a better one and if he considers it to be right that you did it for your own sake, everyone else has to admit that you have acted very dishonourably towards the children, and that not a single word was uttered on our part right up to the minute you went away about my being both father and mother. Didn’t I tell people every time that the father and the mother fed the children; the father and the mother put the children to bed?

Now you say that I should hand over Jacques to you! Who are you then?! Father and mother have remained with him, and he will live or die with them. As far as the children are concerned, you have been dead for six years, and if the last accident which occurred left you alive but desolate, something which I would very much wish for, for Jacques you will always remain dead—at all events, so long as I am alive and able to look after him.

You complained the whole summer that Jacques had nothing to wear and was going about naked and barefoot, and during that entire summer you only made things for yourself and for Lisa. You could not find anything to buy for Jacques. A day before you went away, you took a bond for 90 francs and spent it on yourself and Lisa.

You bought yourself a pair of shoes for 25 francs, and Lisa two pairs of shoes. Couldn’t you have bought yourself a pair of shoes for 15 francs, so that you had 10 francs over for him? Couldn’t you have bought Lisa one pair of shoes and had another 10 francs over for him? For 20 francs he would also have had something to wear. You certainly have the wealth. With what I have left I won’t be able to buy him any things quickly and won’t be able to take the train.

And what about the money you took for the journey? When you went away so rich, how could you take the last sou away from the child as well, so that you should have more for the journey? No, no, you should be ashamed that you can still demand a letter from him. He does not understand. He would have replied, but I must not allow it, because you have sinned against him too much. You have acted very basely towards him. You write to me that I promised to give you the children or to let you know about them. Did you also tell me how you would leave? You went away like an escroc, like a thief, with the intention of never letting anyone know about yourself. If you had gone away, even with a little pain, with the intention of writing once more or exchanging letters, you would have gone away in a different manner.

It may be that I am standing in the way of the good fortune that you see for him in America by not letting him travel there, but I do not see any good fortune there yet. I still do not believe that all the children in America are doctors or engineers.

There are probably other children who become cap-makers, boot finishers or machiners. I am still not certain that Jacques would not have one or two of these trades in America. In any case, there is nothing to discuss with regard to the matter at the moment. Jacques must first finish école, and if I am still alive then, I shall do everything I can to see that he does not become a labourer. Should I not be able to do anything for him, and if I see that his good fortune will lie only with you, I shall not stand in the way of your happiness and will hand him over to you. I shall sacrifice myself, only I shall not make the kind of sacrifice that you made for him. But it will cost me my life, because if I live I do not want to give him to you. (How astonished I am at your lack of shame in telling me that you have given me many reasons to win you back as my faithful wife.) I do not know who told you that I want to travel to London. No, I shall travel to London only when I can travel for the plaisir of going with friends. But if I have to leave Paris to look for work, I shall not go to London, but simply leave for another destination without anybody else knowing where we are going to.

I must also reply to you about what you wrote to me in that letter—that I have behaved towards you like someone who sells his wife. How shameless you are to accuse me of such a thing. You provide evidence that I used to send you money to his house. If you borrow money from someone else, it does not mean that you have to sleep with him. And as for what I took from him, you have got it. You yourself know very well how many times I took the money up to him in his home, going from making deliveries, because I knew that as soon as I had carried the money into the house, it would rot away and I would again remain a debtor. You used to quarrel with me for three days afterwards. You knew why you were owed everything but I did not know, and I always found myself guilty with regard to him.

Perhaps because of this you think that I have treated you like someone who sells his wife because I allowed you to go to the theatre with him or to a dance, or did not check up on where you were going. But whom did I not let you go with? Did let you go with? Did I not let you go with Charlie? Did I not let you go to the theatre or promener? Did you not go to the theatre with Jacob and also to the forest with him for a whole day at a time? Did you not go to the theatre with Janovsky and to the Tuileries1 to hear the music of Mimi Ponson2, coming home at 12 o’clock at night? Have I ever had anything from you, that I should want to sell you? No, no. It was only so that you could have pleasure that I did not want to prevent you from going to the theatre. When I saw a play in the theatre which I liked, I wanted you to see it as well. When I liked the music in the Tuileries, I wanted you to hear it also, and I myself sent you there. I would never have believed that the pleasure I wanted to cause you would cost me so much in health and might even bring about my death. And the reason I did not spy on you was that I could not. I did not want to humiliate you and wound your pride. Also, I was afraid to work it out, because I knew that, the moment I caught you, there would be a split in our home.

No, it is only to throw the dirt from yourself onto me. You know yourself that you had already begun to dirty yourself with him when I had not yet had anything from him. On the contrary, he had already had something from me. As early as the second month after he moved in with us, you wanted to leave me alone with the children, who were still small at the time – Lisa was not a year old yet—and go away with him as soon as he had the money, and if Levin did not dissuade him.

You remember that you told me then that Bernard wanted to go away with a woman who intended to leave behind a husband and two children, but he had no money. He asked Levin to lend him some money, but Levin did not want to and dissuaded him. I did not pay much attention at the time but, a little while later, I did ask what had happened about the woman he had wanted to go away with. You replied that she had gone back and was living with her husband.

You yourself were that frivolous woman who wanted to go away and leave her husband and two small children. Levin has told me everything, and if Levin had not dissuaded him and had lent him the money, you would, as you write to him in your letter, have made the “great sacrifice” for Jacques you have now made for him, so that he would be able to enrol in a big école in America, six years ago. Yes, you can indeed say to me that you were a faithful wife to me, that you always told me the truth, and would never have believed that you would leave me. You can tell everyone you can speak to, and write to everyone you can write to, that I gave you the opportunity. If I had not given you the opportunity, it would not have come to this.

But what is there to talk about now? You yourself know that you have behaved very basely towards me, and you accuse me only so that you should appear to be less guilty. You write to me that, if I had gone away to London, things would not have come to this pass. I believe that you would perhaps not have gone away so quickly, but if there is one thing I have done in my life which I am happy about, it is that I did not go away, because I tore away your mask. If I had gone away, you would have persisted in your dirty life, and nobody would have hindered you. After a period of living like that, perhaps you would have had to come to me. You would have come as a proper and honourable woman, and I would never have known what sort of person you were.

You were extremely unwilling to remove your mask. You very much enjoyed the time I was in hospital. You want to live that experience again, but now, I must interrupt all this writing because, if I do not, then I will just keep on writing and writing and never finish. Now, heed the last words I shall write to you and always bear them in mind, because they come from the profoundest depths of my heart. You know that I have always told the truth, so you can be sure that I am telling the truth now. It may be that you will laugh at it all, or that you will get a great deal of fun from it, but I must urge you not to do either, because I certainly do not deserve it.

From the moment I received the blue slip from you, I have been feeling so exhausted that, were it not for Jacques, I might have died long ago. I have spent a terrible winter. I was half-dead several times and quite crazy. I could not sleep, could not eat, could not work. But you should not think that all this happened to me because you had gone away. No, I suffered because I had, after all, made so many sacrifices with regard to you and trusted you so much, and I gave in to you about so many things during the past six years, the best years of my life, and when I think of the kind of dirt and the kind of torment I have endured, I am dreadfully dismayed. I am only trying to repay you for it. I do not believe that your going away was a consequence of your recklessness, because the consequences would have been be worse. You will again pay dearly for the dirt and destruction you have brought upon my home. Two things can save you from me, either I shall never have the possibility of never seeing you again, or my thoughts will change and I shall forget what has happened. Twice you made yourself ill, and the last time you had to go to hospital because he made you ill, and I had to suffer because of you and look after you; and the whole six years of neglect of our home and children has inspired in me so much hatred towards you, that it will destroy us all one day unless it is suppressed. This is not yet the end of our life; it is only the beginning of the end.

14th February 1909, London

To Abraham from Davis G. Written in English.

3 Blenheim Crescent,
Notting Hill, W

Dear Brother-in-Law

I received your letter and am very sorry to hear that you are in such a position. I had a very bad time this winter up till now but I hope it will be better. Jane do not want an operation. She attended a physician and he cured her at home without an operation. The baby is in the convalescent hospital. He is getting better. We expect him every day. Mother has been in Simmey’s house this week, and I saw Mrs. L. and she received a letter and photos from Dora and Liza. Liza looks very nice and strong but I did not notice much on Dora’s photo. In the letter she blames you why she ran away with Bernard. You gave her the chance to do it. I cant write it all out. If you would see me I would tell you all. She also wrote that after Easter she was coming to London and she is going to steal Jackey away from you. If she can’t get him in London she will get him in Paris and you should try to be careful with him. Don’t let him go by himself. Don’t take much notice what Dora says. If you would come to London you would be better off. You ought of come here ten years ago. It is no good staying there all by yourself and be lonely and have trouble all the time. Dora wrote in the letter that Bernard left you a workshop worth £30 and left you like a gentleman. If you could sell the workshop you could come to London. Instead of taking Jackey and go in the world you can sell all your things and come to London. You had enough trouble in Paris. Perel will be here before Easter. Simmey and Jack sent for her this week. She is afraid to stop there because she heard there was going to be a pogramme on Easter. Send answer immediately. Best regards from all. Separate from your mother. A separate one from your niece Annie G.—I am going to leave school this week.

Best regards from Simmy, Davis, baby and Jack.

Send answer this week.

Annie G.

17th February 1909, Paris

To Davis G. from Abraham. Written in English.

Dear brother in law

I received your letter and answer you immediately.

I am very glad that your baby is going on better and also that sister is on the way to be cured. As she told me her complaint I can understand that she is got an appendicitis isn’t she cured by ice? If so I am sure it is that what I think. I have seen many cases like this in the hospital and all went out in good health. Now I can tell you that I have received two letter this week from america one from Dora the other from her sister. Dora writes me that I should send Jackey over there to america she will send him a ship ticket. Liza is longing to see him and cries always that he should come. As I told you in the last letter that I wrote a letter to her sister and asked her to write me how Liza is going on and she answered me that she does not know anything of Dora now. When Dora came over to america she came in her place with Bernard and she told her things which she did not believe it. She blamed her much for what she has done. She did not want to speak to her. As she could not get rid of her she left her in the room and she moved out in another place so Dora was obliged to move out also and she moved out very far since she did not see her again. As Dora told her that she will return to Paris to fetch Jacky she thought her to be in Paris. Now she will try to find her out and see Liza and she will write me how she is going on. She asks me also that I should come to America I can come straight in her place. For the children’s sake she said in the letter we must live together. How it made me laugh when I read in the letter you sent me that Bernard left me a workshop worth 30 pounds. I don’t know whether you did not understand what she wrote in the letter as she was without shame indeed to tell you such a lie. Bernard left me nothing. On the contrary they took away everything from me. When he left his workshop he left it to his partner but not to me. His workshop had to be sold because he made bankruptcy and that is what is made him go away otherwise he would go to prison. She blames me in the letter. That it is me who gave her a chance to do it. Of course she can say everything she likes now as no one knows how it was. In Paris she would never say that. Of course she wants to take of the dirt of herself now but she must have a place where to put it and she could not find a better place than to put it on me. I must keep it but I will show her sometimes what a bad place she chose for that. Now I must answer you of what you ask me to come to London I would like very much to come to London because I am very lonely in Paris. Trade is also very bad but I can’t do it for two reasons: firstly because I have no money and without money I will never come to London. Secondly I can’t do it for Jackey’s sake. He had to finish the school in month of July and I don’t want to take him away before he finishes the school. He learns this year very well. He is always the first scholar of 45 scholars in his class. He had the best marks and therefore I want him to finish the school before and get certificate. For his sake I must stop in Paris. I am not afraid Dora will take him away. She will never come to London nor to Paris. With that hope she will live all her life in America and she will never see him again.

30th March 1909

Dear Jacques I love you very much Elise

Dear Daddy Easter Greetings Elisa

1909, London

To Abraham from Jane G. Written in English.

3 Blenheim Crescent
Bayswater W.

Dear Brother

I am writing you this letter telling you how I am as you wanted to know what my complaint was I suffer from an inside inflammation. I have been in two hospitals and have been ill eight weeks and now I am at home, because they wanted to make me an operation. A private doctor attends me at home and I am getting on better. I would like to know how you, and Jacky are getting on, and whether you have work. we have no more news to write you. Everything is the same as it was. Best regards from me and Davis, and the children, and a separate from Annie. Best regards from Simmy F. and their little son Marks and Jack. He has learnt to make cigerates, and he earns some money.

My dear Son, and Grandchild,

I cant understand why you are in Paris when you could earn as much in London you have no friends or relations and you are lonely when if you would be in London you would have all your relations near you, and you would not be so lonely, and it would be easier for you to forget in Dora, and Lisa. Do not worry yourself about Lisa, because when she grown up she will find out what her mother is, and she will come to you I would like to know how Mrs Bernard is getting on and I wonder why if she found out where Bernard is, why she does not go there. I send my best regards & wishes to you, & Jacky.
I remain
Your loving

1909, London

To Abraham from Perel. Written in Yiddish.

To my much-loved and dear brother, may he live in health

First of all, I can tell you dear brother that I am now in London, staying with Sima and am, thank God, well. May God grant that I shall hear the same about you.

And again, my dear brother, what am I to write to you? Up to now, I have managed somehow, and I already have someone to whom I can talk. Anyhow, God has helped me and I have already got together with Monica. I can only tell you dear brother that my journey cost 80 roubles. Sima’s husband and Yankel gave me the money and brought me over, and now, thank God, things are not bad with me. Sima has a very good husband, and things have come right for her, thank God. They are making a good living, and she has a very nice son.

And for my pains I now have proud enjoyment, thank God, and Yankel is also earning a little money already. I have already met Mother, as well as Sheindel and David. I could not recognise Mother at all, she has changed so much. Now we are all together. Only you, my dear brother are missing. I would have liked to see you living here, and I cannot understand, dear brother, why you now have to live in Paris, where you are all alone. I think it would be better if you were to leave with the child and travel to London. It seems to me that you can have the same “good luck” in London that you have in Paris. You would not be alone then, and you would be happier and better off than you will be in Paris. It would also be better for the child.

Now, dear brother, I can tell you that I have a request to you. As your wife’s sister lives in the same building as Sima’, she came upstairs to see me when I arrived, and we talked about you and your wife. She worries a great deal about her sister, and she says that only you are to blame for her having gone away. When Yankel visited Sheindel yesterday, they told him that a letter from you had arrived, in which you had written that you had received a card from your child and, when he came home, he repeated this. Later, your wife’s sister, Mrs J. came upstairs to us, and when Sima’s husband told her that you had received a card from your child, she stood there amazed and did not want to believe it. She said that it was absolutely impossible for her to send you a card from the child, and Simaʼs husband Harris had a bet with her for ten shillings. Sima’s husband therefore asks you to do him a favour. We know that your child’s card is very precious to you, but we would like you not to hold on to it, and we ask that you should send us the card. We will show her the card so that she should see that it is true, and we will quickly send it back to you.

From Perel

Probably 1909, Paris

To Annie L. from Abraham. Written in English.

Dear Miss Anny L.,

I beg you to excuse me for not answering you before I am so occupied that I would not fined a little time to write you a letter. Judge yourself I work till 8 o’clock in the evening after I must make my supper and I finish it at nine o’clock after I must make my house work to clean the kitchen and other things I finish it at eleven or twelve o’clock. I have really no time to write.

I am sending you your photo and hope you will return it to me.

1909, Paris

To Perel from Abraham. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Sister

I have received your letter and I am very glad to hear that you are well and happy. May God continue to help you, and may you be happy and have pleasure from your children. You ask me to send you the card from my Lisa. I am doing you the favour and am sending it to you, but you should send it back soon. I am very surprised at Mrs J., who does not think that Dora should send me Lisa’s card. It looks as if she, and she alone, is so depraved that she does not want to give me the pleasure of having the child’s card. When she took one child away from me, I had already devoted myself to her for eight years. She grew up in my charge. I carried her about, I washed her, I fed her. Her mother never had any time to do anything for the children. She used either to sleep, or read a book, or go for a walk. She could at least have given up one document to me. You write that her sister takes her side, but she was not together with us, so she cannot know who is the guilty party.

5th May 1909, Paris

From Abraham. Written in French.

Mr President

With this letter I appeal to your benevolence to ask you to grant me a loan of 150 or 100F. I swear to pay you back by small payments. This money I intend to use in as part of my job in which I find myself in a very difficult position.

22nd May 1909, London

To Abraham from Davis G. Written in English.

5 Convent Gardens
Kensington Pk Rd.
Notting Hill
London W

Dear brother-in-law

I have received your PC, and I am very pleased that you and Jacky are getting on quite well. We are all waiting for your news. Mother has no more patience to wait. She wants to know how you are getting on, and the news which you want to write us. We are all getting on quite well. Best regards from all. Mother sends her best regards. Your niece Annie sends her best regards to you and Jacky.

Abraham met Rachel M. in 1909.

It is not clear whether Abraham and Dora ever divorced or whether there was a get but it seems that Abraham married Rachel at some point in May or June 1909.


4th July 1909, Paris

To Jane and Davis G. from Abraham. Written in English.

Dear sister and brother in law.

I received your post card and thank you very much for it. I can tell you now that I am married and never in my life I was so happy in my family life as I have been now. I have got a wife of which I am very satisfied. She is a woman of the best of character. She is as kind and gentle. She loves me and Jacky with the fondest love and so we do. She attends him as much that never a mother would have done for his own child. Now only he is got a mother and a very kind one. She is not a French woman she is Romanian. She works from 8 o’clock in the morning till 6 o’clock and when she come home she does her house work. I must tell you that I am very very glad that it happened like this. Otherwise I would live still in that dirty life as I used to live.

Now I can tell you that Jackey has finished the school with the first prize.

15th July 1909, Paris

To Taube M. from Rachel and Abraham. Written in Yiddish.

Dear Mother Toiveh

Please forgive me for not having written to you before this, but I cannot write myself, and the person who was supposed to write for me, that is to say, my husband, has been very busy, so he had no time to write. That is why I could not send you a letter.

I am writing to tell you that I am now married – with good fortune—and have a husband with whom I am very happy. Unfortunately, however, I cannot write to you about his virtues, since he himself is writing this letter and does not want to write what I ask him to write, because it will appear that he is praising himself. If I were writing the letter myself, I would write that, as far as I know him up to now, he is the best husband there could be. He is very good to me and loves me. I hope that my whole life will continue the way it has up to now.

I can also tell you that Miryam and Herman have behaved very nicely towards me, just as they did the whole time that I was staying with them and right up to now. They made a very nice wedding [for me] and I am very satisfied with them. I can also tell you that Miryam is pregnant and is already in her fourth month. Write to me and tell me your news, what you are doing and how you are; what Shaikeh is doing; whether you get letters from your father and what he writes to you.

That is all I can write to you for now. Best regards to you and Shaikeh. I wish you health and happiness.

Your daughter Rachel

Dear mother-in-law

I am permitting myself to write you these few words, and also giving myself the pleasure of doing so, first of all, to introduce myself and, secondly, to express how happy your daughter, who is now my wife, makes me. I must confess that I find in her everything a man can ask of a woman, and I am totally satisfied with her. For my part, I can promise that I will do everything possible to ensure that she, too, should…

19th July 1909, London

To Abraham from Annie L. Written in English.

47 Rothchilds Buildings
Commercial Street
London E

Dear Uncle Abraham,

We received your regards, and thank you. I thought you were cross with us, but now I see it is not so. How mother and I were very pleased to hear that you were married again and also that Jacques was taken so much care of. We wish you all the best of luck and all that you wish yourselves.

I have no news in particular to inform you with. We do not hear from New York because mother is cross with Dora. A. Gandleman came from America and gave us a regard that all is well. Lizzie is quite well and happy. From ourself I can tell you that we are all well and only hope I have the pleasure of seeing you and Jacques very soon in London.

Mother, Golda and myself send the fondest love to you and Jack and hope you will kiss him from us. God bless you all.

I remain

A well wisher,

Annie L.

July 1909, London

To Abraham from Jane. Written in English.

5 Convent Gardens
Notting Hill W

Answer at once.

Dear brother,

We are all in the best of health. I would like to know how your family is getting on. I have sent you two post cards and I have not received an answer. I am wondering why you don’t answer me. I can see you only want one sister. When Perel was in Russia you never wrote to her, only to me, and now Perel came to London you write to her, and not to me, whatever you write to Perel we don’t know because we never go to them, and they never come to us. I daresay you will wonder why. It is because all the good we done to them they are not satisfied. I can see that you are right that you did not want to help them, now they are satisfied if they get a letter from you. Best regards from all to you, your wife and Jacky. I would like to know if they wrote anything about us.

Best regard from your mother and she begs you should answer immediately.

27th September 1909, Paris

From Abraham.

Mr President,

Again, I have no other choice than to ask for your support due to an illness, which hit me and prevent me from earning my bread. It is already 20 days that my foot that I broke 2 years ago started to hurt again. At first, I did not pay much attention to it since I had no possibility to rest and I had to keep working, but then the foot got worse, and I had to stay in bed. It has been 15 days now that I stay in bed, unable to get up, I waited until the very last moment to contact you and ask for your support, hoping that I could go back to work before, but now that my resources are exhausted, and I really don’t know when I will be able to start working again (I did it anyway—I contacted you). I asked the doctor to allow me into the hospital but he can’t find my illness a treatment inside the hospital. He said I have to work 8 more days. In the meanwhile, I have no income whatsoever to provide for me and my family. For this sad reason, I beg you to come to the rescue as you did it once and I am very grateful for this. Ask around and you will see that I tell you nothing but the truth. I thus beg you to stop the note that I am supposed to pay the 1st of October. I hope to pay next month both of them.


28th September 1909, Paris

From Abraham.

Monsieur le Baron,

With this letter, I call for your good will. I am a father and it has been 20 days since I last worked due to a foot illness. When I was working I never bothered you with anything and now the time has come that I am forced to ask you for support because I have no other way of surviving. I hope Monsieur le Baron that this letter will not remain without attention.


From Abraham.


The amount of money you indicated that I owe Mr. H. really surprised me. What I signed for originally was 25 francs, the rest that you are claiming back I don’t understand how it became so much, but in order to avoid any trouble, I certify that I will pay you but it will have to be in three instalments, which means 15 francs per month. The first payment, I won’t be able to make it before September 15th. Then, I hope that the work will have begun. If Mr. H. was kind enough to wait until now for the payment, I hope he will be kind to also grant me with another 2-month delay. This payment, I can assure you that I will make it by signing the note of 15 francs per month in September (the 12th) and November. I hope Sir that you won’t expose me to unnecessary expenses, and that you will grant me this delay. I cannot pay anyone at the moment, and I am forced to work all the time, I don’t earn enough to live, this is the third term I owe the landlord. If I don’t pay, they will kick me out.

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