1940, July 21: Hella Olstein to André Olstein with Eve's Note
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Hella Olstein writes three pages in French to her brother André, in Basel, Switzerland, and Eve adds a fourth page in English:
[Translation from the French thanks to Mimi Segal Daitz and Lawrence Senelik]
My very dear brother André,
I received your letter and I thank you for it with all my heart. At the same time I also received a letter from home [their father], so you understand how happy I was. I am very pleased that you have some work, but don't worry about me. For the moment, I bathe in the sea, I take advantage of it because if I start to work again, end of the sea bathing. My former bosses are also returned, and surely it may be that in a month I [will] work. So my dear André don't worry. When there will be some possibility of travel I will surely come.
And my travels, you know that I used work in Cannes. One beautiful day it was closed -- the bosses were gone to Bordeaux. And everyone that I knew did the same. So we decided to do the same, in a southern train, squeezed like sardines. There were even some people in the toilets and standing all night. I will tell you the details when I come to visit you.
Finally we arrived at Biarritz. Then, the other difficulty, find a room. I did find one too. Fine. We stayed 3 weeks -- I worked for 5 days, they closed up! And crowded like crazy. [Crossed out section.] We left in autocars [a minibus] from a suburb until we arrived in Toulouse. There, the same story, no way to find a room! We stayed in Toulouse for two days and the trains began, so we took advantage [of the possibility] to return [to Nice]. So you see my dear André, you don't have much to worry about. Naturally, I also had some moments not much fun, but in general we had good luck, “touch wood.” And now I am very happy to be again in Nice where I can swim, wash, and sleep each night in the same bed. My health is also good and my skin begins to tan. So my dear André, write me very soon and I embrace you with all my heart,
your little sister / Hella
58 rue de France
Home Meublé [furnished]
Nice (A.M.) [Alpes Maritimes]
[NOTE ADDED BY EVE IN ENGLISH]
My dear André – You made Hella very happy with your lovely letter. She was so very anxious to hear from you all – and now she feels differently.
We went through some anxious times lately and your sister was a brave & courageous girl --How we managed to get to places & get away from places I cannot tell you in detail now. But I can tell she is a great kid and wonderful in difficult moments – She [crossed out] Some day we will tell you all about it. –-Now we are back here, both healthy in spite of the hardship we went through and Hella is a little mulato now thanks to the sun & sea and has her hair up beautifully & looks a picture of the lady aristocrat of the 18th century. Only one thing is lacking that is [work - crossed out] work. We both are idle and I sincerely hope that soon we shall be able to earn something
meanwhile hoping for the best & trusting to luck. Best. Eve