O., May 11, 1938
Valued Mr. Nordhoff!
I received your letter yesterday. Thank you very much. Above all, because I was allowed to confide in you, you could perhaps extend your hand to me as my guide. I know that I am putting you in an embarrassing situation; but you must be able to understand me. Do you know what it means to possess a girlfriend, who inwardly, however, is as foreign as any other person? If you must carry alone all suffering, which one cannot escape in life? I am certainly not one of those who lets herself get discouraged by the slightest event; but this time I find that I can’t go on alone. I must unburden my heart to someone. And the person whom I unconditionally trust is you, Mr. Nordhoff. I believe in you, therefore I can confide in you.
I want to be gone from here! I cannot bear life like this anymore – because I love you too much. Do you understand? Everything in my homeland reminds me of you and sometimes I feel like it’s braying into my ear: “never again — never again!” I know that it is not allowed to be; that I am not an equal match for you. Therefore, I must go, must forget. It hurts so much when one must repress what is barely blooming and always show the world a calm, friendly face. But deep inside the heart it constantly pierces and hurts. Tell me, have you anytime in your life loved someone so deeply and then fate intervened with a rough grasp? I no longer know what I should do. I had intended to sign up for Labour Service or the voluntary two-year honor service as a nurse. However, my boss is not willing to release me from work. I have not yet informed my parents about my resolutions. But I know they will not stand in my way, if it is in my best interest. Well, I ask you, Mr. Nordhoff, tell me if you can. I can’t seem to get a saying by our poet Friedrich Rückert [The Wisdom of the Brahmin: A Didactic Poem, Book 1.1, transl. Charles T. Brooks, 1882] out of my head. Do you think one can believe in it?
If ill befalleth thee, count it a blessing still;
If ill thou takest it, that is a sorer ill.
Forgive thy friend if he tormenteth thee; and know
He is not well, or else he would not vex thee so.
And if Love woundeth thee, let that but spur thy love;
For, that thou hast the rose, the thorn doth surely
I conclude now by thanking you for allowing me to write to you and will remain hopeful for a message from you soon, with best wishes,