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Fall 1940

[This was Ludwig Klein's first letter to his children after he and his wife were deported to Camp de Gurs.]

Camp de Gurs, Basses Pyrenées
Ilot E, Baraque 26

October 30, 1940


Dear Children,

News of the fate that has overtaken us must have reached you. The fact is, we are so far still quite well and hope that it will remain that way. If it would at all be possible for you to send us some money or food, it would be most welcome. Mother will surely write you separately; she is also quartered here in the vicinity and we can see each other and talk from time to time.

This letter is also meant for Max and Kurt so please forward it to them. It is still uncertain whether and how long we will stay here, as is everything that the future holds for us. We trust that all is well with you. I will write soon again. Take my most heartfelt regards for now,

Your Father

PS Uncle Bernhard, Heinrich and Sigmund, along with their families, are also here.

Ludwig Klein
Ilot E, Baraque 26
Camp de Gurs, Basses Pyrenées December 13, 1940



Dear Children,

Your lines of Nov. 15 reached us only now, but they gave us enormous pleasure. Many thanks for the two remittances of Ffrs. 431 each (of which 418 were actually paid out.) Also, my heartiest thanks for the announced packages. I can only hope they'll arrive soon. There is also supposed to be a package in transit, about which we received word from an address in Geneva not known to us. Unfortunately, people from Switzerland can only send food packages of the type that contain unrationed items. Here in France, everything is rationed, too, and you can only buy such items as chestnuts, figs, apples, etc., but neither butter nor cheese and meat and sausage are in very short supply. What they are giving us is barely sufficient.

No doubt you received our most recent letters meanwhile and gleaned all details from them; and I'm sure you'll have taken all necessary steps toward our emigration. Getting out of here will be a slow process, however. Everything takes much too long and is too complicated. On one hand, they are always holding out hope to us, on the other, we are prisoners here for the time being without any real idea of how to get out of this situation.

Dear Max, you ask what exactly we need money for, and I want to comment in that regard that our food consists of the following: in the morning, a little bit of black, so-called coffee. At noontime, a thin soup, mostly made of carrots and beets. In the evening, coffee or tea again and 260 grams of bread which must last the entire next day. That's not enough for anybody to subsist on, quite aside from everything else we are lacking. In view of that, it is understandable that we do have expenses.

By the way, for the time being you needn't send us any more money, at least until we ask for it. Because there is a general shortage of medical supplies, we have a great deal of illness here and we therefore have to take special care not to fall ill. Thank God we're all right, healthwise, so far and hope to continue to get through the short winter here the same way.

Do take good care of yourselves, too, and send us a sign of life soon again. Regards to all the relatives, as well as to yourselves, your

Father

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