Friday, December 19, 2008

Transcript for interpretation purposes – prepared 15 December 2008 by Laurie Favelle

Letter from Dr. Richard Ullmann to Eckart Heilpern

Friends Post War Service Committee,
Friends House, Euston Road,
London N.W., 1. 20th January, 1943.

Dear Eckart Heilpern,

After all I have the opportunity of writing to you as a free man. The 8th inst. I have been released, after another enervating three months on the Isle of Man. I had hoped that I were free at Christmas, but it didn't come true. I've taken up work as a tutor with the above Committee, which is preparing all kinds of relief work on the European Continent as quickly as possible after the Armistice. My special task is to make the young workers acquanted with the psychological and historical background, give them a lead in their language studies, etc. As you see, a very intersting and very idealistic work on Christian fundamentals. There are many political and spitiual issues to be considered, and my own experience in various countries as well as my experience as both subject and object of relief work come in very usefully. The only drawback of my being free is the interruption of my correspondence with my wife, from whom I had quite regularly long letters about all things of personal interest for me. Unfortunately part of the information was very depressing: my brother Franz was deported in June, my aunt----? I think in September together with E.W.L and her husband etc. My wife herself helped them and worked with them to the last, though I think it was quite risky to do that, to visit my brother once a week etc.

She had had her own troubles too: my eldest girl, though very talented in many respects, has had to leave school at 14! My wife is teaching her all alone now except maths and piano, doing with her even Greek, reading Shakespeare in English and Corneille in French, not neglecting all practical things such as cooking, tailoring, gardening, gyms, etc. It is rather a co-operation than teaching, and my wife finds in it extreme satisfaction and happiness. The children sent me for Christmas very nice “Krippenfigure” in paper, which they had designed, painted and cut out. Those of the older one are really artistic, exactly as her sewing kit for me which she has made without any help or advice. She is very musical too, the younger plays the violin and my wife has started at playing the 'cello to accomplish the Trio. The elder one writes sonnet-cycles, the younger one fairy-tales which have won prizes at school; but her spelling is dreadful!

But enough about the children. I wonder whether you received my letter of November 17th and my Christmas card of December 12th. I hope that all of you are well and that you are having good news from your brother in Switzerland. I don't see much chance for him to get out from there now if he hasn't managed it in time; but I see less danger every day that that country will be drawn into the war. Are you still in your former work? I don't think that the Australian man-power problem will affect you very much, as you are very much needed in your occupation. How is your mother? I've seen her only once in 1937, and before that only when I was a child of say 10. But I've kept her in good memory; I sometimes one's sympathies are hereditary and I've inherited this predilection for her from my own mother. I've trying to find your grandmother's address, to drop her a few lines. I know she is at Westwood Ho, but I don't know where, I think she is rather advanced in the eighties now, isn't she?

Should you meet Dr. Morris or Miss Gladys Armstrong, please remember me to them and tell them about my new job, they certainly will be interested in it. You don't know Rev. Alcorn, or do you? Remember me to him, too. It is a pity we never have managed to meet. But as the world is becoming smaller every day, one never knows what possibilities of personal acquantance will be opened. Queer enough that we have not met; while writing this letter I feel as if I had had lots of talks with you.

All my best wishes to you and your parents, and let us hope that war and oppression will be over soon.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Ullmann.

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