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Letter #


Bela Kohn




In this letter about afternoons courting among Sala's friends at home, Bela describes Sala's friends' recent explosion in their interest in boys. Her statement, "Since you went away, it has become different here" suggests that Sala's absence from home means her absence from becoming a young woman alongside her friends

Full Translation

My dear, I am sure, you are angry at us because we haven't been writing you in such a long time. Now sitting here in the store, I have a little time to write about our life here. Probably, you are curious. Since you went away, it has become different here and things have changed. We have changed a lot but we are still together, Gucia, Sala, I, Chana and Hela. Our parcel will still go to Adela, Lola and Fela. After work, we go for a walk on the "dziatkis", it is very nice there and, who knows, one might meet someone. Saturdays and Sundays we spend very pleasantly. Now I must tell you what we did on the Sunday, after our walk on Thursday. I went to see Gucia. An acquaintance of Sala R.'s boyfriend told her that he would wait for her on her "dziatka" (street?) at 5 o'clock and Gucia G. should surely come. So Gucia and I went at 5 and he was already waiting. He asked us to sit down and so we did and he told us that he was from Germany. Such a fine young man (cavalier). He took us to the "galarebkis" and, with some others, we sat around for a while. ... Afterwards there was such a wind and we got very cold. Then I made myself up a little and he brought a "rater" (?) and I said [to Gucia] that one of us should go home. "Gucia, you go" and she said, "No you go", and then none of us left and that was that as far as getting to know him. Later, Gucia left with the young man for a walk along the street. I blessed him and her, too, it simply wasn't in the stars to find love. They walked about until 8 o'clock and she then went home. When I came home, my mother wanted to know who the young man was, walking with Gucia and I said that he was an acquaintance. My mother liked him very much. When I met Gucia again I told her about it and she said it was impossible, she hadn't seen my mother. She didn't want to come up to our apartment and I scolded her, telling her that my mother liked the young man very much and then she understood. Now, I want to tell you about Sala, she doesn't sleep, either. She has a suitor and he comes to see her every day. He keeps asking her to go for a walk and she keeps saying no, but he doesn't leave her alone. When we all go for a walk, he is already there and if we go to another place, he is already there, too, but he doesn't look at Sala anymore. A very handsome boy, we all like him, but she doesn't and we feel very sorry for him. Once he came to Sala to say that one of his acquaintances would like to meet Gucia Gutman. Sala and Gucia are to come to the street on Sunday and he will wait with his acquaintance. Then we, that is, I and Gucia left. That's how Sala's suitor tried to get involved with her, thinking that if Gucia goes, Sala will go also. And that's how it was, both of them went out, had a good time and were happy. I already wrote you about the second Sunday [she repeats her story here]: Gucia and I went out and Sala didn't want to come along. When we were sitting on the street, Sala's suitor came along, but she wasn't there. I went along because I wanted to know Gucia's suitor [Gucia's object]. Now a couple of words about Hela: The suitor she chose is from Auschwitz, that is, from Oswiecim. He is three times as tall as she and we always laugh when we see them walking along the street. He is very tall and handsome and very pleasant. He talks very nicely and is very attractive to women, to us in particular. Adelka also has a suitor, an acquaintance of Hela's suitor. Hela brought them together and they all go out together. On Sunday, they all smooched and they were both very happy. We must also find a boy for Chana. Since we all have one, she must have one also, but that will happen soon. There is nothing new with me. You are probably very curious since I talked of everybody else. But with me things are as usual. I see my young man very rarely, after all, he isn't from here. How do you like my report, dear Sala? As you can see, things have changed here a lot. When you, my dear, can write, tell us how you feel about all this. Last week as I was standing by the window at Chana's, I saw Ala walk by with Plecak and another girl. I shouted to Regina, "See, it's Ala", and she also recognized her. We haven't met with her yet. We would like to talk with her, so she can tell us about you; then we would feel as if you were with us. But as we hear, she hasn't been with you lately. Rozia told us that she went to see your parents and she also said that she sent you a parcel. See, how much I've written, I told you of everything, you should know everything about us. But will you be able to read it? I mean, my German is very bad and I wrote very quickly. Now I'm closing my letter. My parents send their regards, Stalusia kisses you. Regards also from Gucia, Chana, Sala, Regina, Fela, Adela and all their suitor whom you don't know. Bela

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